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ERNST MARTI 



THE FOUR ETHERS 






Contributions to Rudolf Steiner's Science of 

the Ethers 
Elements— Ethers— Formative Forces 



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Translated 

by 

Eva Lauterbach and James Langbecker 






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With a Foreword by Rolf Hummel 



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SCHAUMBURG PUBLICATIONS, INC. 
Roselle, Illinois 601 72 




CONTENTS 



Originally published as Die vier Ather: Zu Rudolf Steiners Ather- 
lehre: Elemente-Ather^Biidekr&fte, Studien und Versuche, no. 1 3, 
©1974 Verlag Freies Geistesleben GmbH, Stuttgart 
The translation is based on the third edition, 1981 

The Appendix "Goethe's Concept of Space," by Rudolf Steiner, 
was translated from the German: "Der Goethesche Raumbegriff," 
Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol. 1, 3d ed.: Goethes Natur- 
wissenschaftliche Schriften, 

©1973 Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzer- 
land 




Foreword 

RolfE. Hummel 

Translator's Foreword 
Eva Lauterbach 

Introduction 

Ernst Marti 

I. Concerning the Necessary Distinction Between 
The Etheric Formative Forces and the Ethers 
Ernst Marti 



VI 



via 



IX 



©1984 Schaumburg Publications, Inc. 
All rights reserved. Published 1 984 
Printed in the United States of America 



II. About the Four Ethers 
Ernst Marti 

III. The Working Together of the Four Ethers 
Ernst Marti 



14 



34 



Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Marti, Ernst, Dr. med. 
The four ethers. 

Translation of: Die vier Ather. 

Bibliography: p. 

Includes index. 

1 . Ether (of space) 2. Steiner, Rudolf, 1 861 -1 925. 

I. Title. 

QC1 77.M371 3 1 984 61 5.8'52 83-201 56 

ISBN 0-935690-02-6 



Goethes Concept of Space 
Rudolf Steiner 

Bibliography 
Index 



41 



46 



49 




FOREWORD 

Physicists distinguish four fundamental forces: strong (nuclear) 
forces, electromagnetic forces, weak interactions, and gravita- 
tional forces. These forces seem to describe the entire wealth of 
physical phenomena which surround us, from the movements of 
the stars down to the orbiting electrons of an atom. The laws of 
physics, however, cannot explain the form or shape of bodies 
except for very simple cases. An example of the possible applica- 
tion of the laws of physics is the formation of minerals or crystals. 
They may be thought to be created by adding atom to atom in an 
ever repetitive manner and by obeying the laws of electrostatic 
attraction or repulsion. If we divide an already existing crystal into 
small parts, we observe that its crystal structure remains identical 
down to a submicroscopic unit cell. (Other bodies, such as rocks, 
might have been shaped by random events, for example by 
collisions with other rocks in a creek or by water erosion.) 

In contrast to this, the shape of a snail house or the horn of a 
ram cannot be explained with the laws of physics because the word 
"form" in the above mentioned definition is not contained in the 
terminology of physics. Physical forces act only from one point 
into the surrounding neighborhood, and therefore cannot create 
an all-encompassing form. Thus, we have to search for alternative 
ways to explain the shape of many life-created bodies. These forces 
have been found to be the formative forces. The present book deals 
with this phenomenon. 

The world of antiquity knew four elements: fire, air, water, and 
earth. In addition, Rudolf Steiner discovered the four ethers: 
warmth, light, sound, and life, and stated that elements and ethers 
are polarities. (We note in passing that the forces in physics, the 
ethers, as well as the elements, all appear in groups of four.) 

Marti, who is well-educated in the teachings of Steiner, points 
out in the present book that the astral forces stimulate the ethers 
and thus create out of them the formative forces. He also points out 

vi 




that when the spiritual forces penetrate into the elements, they 
create the substance. The cooperation of elements and ethers 
seems to cause the manifoldness of forms and shapes in everyday 

life. 

This book is fascinating to read and a true eye-opener for those 
who desire a deeper understanding of the living aspects of our 
environment. I have used this book with great success as a basis for 
*my teachings during two summer courses at the Rudolf Steiner 
Institute (in Natick, Mass.). The translation of this book into the 
English language has long been overdue. 

RolfE. Hummel, Ph.D. 
Professor, University of Florida 






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TRANSLATORS FOREWORD 

Readers versed in more than one language will be aware of the 
different ways in which meanings in one language sometimes 
need to be expressed in another. Words stand for meanings, they 
are not the meanings themselves. The same word in one context, 
for example, may have a different meaning in another context. 
Thus, depending on what meaning we wish to convey, we choose 
our words and hope that the reader or listener will perceive what 
we wish to express. In trying to grasp meaning in one language and 
transpose it into another, we sometimes have to translate freely 
to allow for the peculiarities and differences of the two languages 
involved. 

In the translation at hand, an effort has been made to translate 
as closely to the German meaning as possible. In those cases where 
a question was anticipated, the German word was included in 
parenthesis, or a translator's note added This was also done where 
certain references, if left unexplained, might lead to misunder- 
standings or misinterpretations. Thus, we hope to have produced a 
translation precise and concise enough to allow the reader to gain 
a clear perception of the authors' meaning. 

Eva Lauterbach 



vin 



INTRODUCTION 

The following two essays were published in Beitraege zu einer 
Erweiterung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschafilichen Erkennt- 
nissen [Contributions to an Enhancement of the Art of Healing Based 
on Insights Gained by Spiritual Science], (Stuttgart, 13th and 19th 
year, 1960 and 1966 respectively). Because of the continued 
demand for these essays, they are here reprinted in an expanded 
form. A part of a new article on the etheric has been added. These 
three essays now comprise a comprehensive portrayal of the four 
ethers based on the indications provided by Rudolf Steiner. They 
are concerned with a fundamental question of the knowledge of 
nature and the world as seen from the anthroposophical point of 
view— a question posed in a particular way by Guenther Wachs- 
muth in his book: Die aetherischen Bildekraefte in Kosmos, Erde und 
Mensch [The Etheric Formative Forces in Cosmos, Earth, and Man] 
published in 1924. 1 This book seemed to have solved the problem 
by depicting the ethers as formative forces. Actually, however, the 
question of whether the ethers and formative forces are indeed one 
and the same was not even investigated. Wachsmuth's concept of 
the ethers as formative forces thus became the basis for all 
anthroposophic work concerning the knowledge of nature and 
man from the time of Rudolf Steiner's death (1925) until today. 
Rudolf Steiner called the essence of life in plant, animal, and 
man "etheric" or "life body," and presented it as such. Later, he 



1. Guenther Wachsmuth, Die aetherischen Bildekraefte in Kosmos, Erde und 
Mensch: Ein Weg zur Erforschung des Lebendigen, vol. 1. 2d ed. (Dornach, Switzer- 
land: Philosophisch-anthroposophischer Verlag am Goetheanum. 1926). 

Engl: Guenther Wachsmuth, The Etheric Formative Forces in Cosmos. Earth 
and Man, trans, by Olin D. Wannamaker. New York. 

Guenther Wachsmuth, Die aetherische Weltin Wissenschaft, Kunst und Religion: 
Vom Weg des Menschen zur Beherrschung der Bildekraefte [The Etheric World in 
Science, Art, and Religion: Man's Attempt to Master the Formative Forces], vol. 2 
(Dornach. Switzerland: Philosophisch-anthroposophischer Verlag am Goethea- 
num, 1927). 

ix 



added the term "body of formative forces." These three terms 
pertain to the same object; however, each refers to a different 
content and context, much as one might say about a house: It is 
built of stone or wood, has this or that kind of rooms, is an office 
building or a home. It is the same building, first considered in 
terms of its materials, then in terms of its layout, and lastly in terms 
of its purpose. Likewise, the expression "etheric body" refers more 
to the substance of the life body, "life body" to the life-giving 
functions, and "body of formative forces" more to the shape or 
form-giving forces. With each of these terms the object "etheric 
body" is considered in a different relationship with the other world 
phenomena. 

Heretofore, Wachsmuth's presentations have not been criti- 
cally examined. When my first essay "Ueber die notwendige 
Unterscheidung der aetherischen Bildekraefte von den Aether- 
arten" ("Concerning the Necessary Distinction Between the 
Etheric Formative Forces and the Ethers"] 2 was published, 
Wachsmuth published a rebuttal. His essay, 3 however, did not 
contain an objective argument either for the correctness of his 
viewpoint or the error in mine. Because of the uncritical accept- 
ance of Wachsmuth 's views, his error has passed into a large part 
of anthroposophical literature. 

Rudolf Steiner himself did not give a systematic presentation 
of the ethers and the formative forces. However, there is such a 
wealth of detail pertaining to them in his lectures and books that 
it is almost impossible to survey them all. Each time he presented 
them from one viewpoint or another depending on the respective 
context of the themes of general anthroposophical, medical. 



2, Trans, note: Ernst Marti, "Ueber die notwendige Unterscheidung der 
aetherischen Bildekraefte von den Aetherarten" [Concerning the Necessary 
Distinction Between the Etheric Formative Forces and the Ethers). Beitraege zu 
einer Erweiterung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschaftlkhen Erkennmissen [Contri- 
butions to an Enhancement of the Art of Healing Based on Insights Gained by 
Spiritual Science], 13th year. (Stuttgart: Arbeitsgemeinschaft anthroposophischer 
Aerzte [Working Association of Anthroposophical Medical Doctors), 1960). 

3. Guenther Wachsmuth, "ZurRichtigstellung" (A Rectification]. Beitraege zu 
einer Erweiterung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschaftlichen Erkennmissen [Contri- 
butions to an Enhancement of the Art of Healing Based on Insights Gained by 
Spiritual Science], no. 2 (Stuttgart: March/ April 1960). 



educational, agricultural, or scientific nature. It is not the intent of 
these essays to gather all those details and show their connections. 
Instead, the attempt is made to develop the idea of these entities 
based on Rudolf Steiners basic references, i.e., the names of the 
ethers, their sequence within cosmic development, and the 
contrast between the elements and the ethers. If this succeeds, the 
basis is given for an understanding of Rudolf Steiner's manifold 
indications and for recognizing them in each case as a particular 
manifestation or characterization of the idea. 

In the etheric body the ethers are gathered into a unity and a 
totality, and together they function organically. In addition, each 
ether has a separate activity in which it operates inorganically, 
obeying the laws of physics. The different aspects of the ethers and 
the etheric formative forces can in general be called "the etheric^ 
just as physical facts in general are called "the physical." The 
portrayal of the etheric is a task necessary in our times; however, it 
has to ensue from the indications given by Rudolf Steiner. 



Basel Easter 1974 



Ernst Marti M.D. 



XI 



I 



CONCERNING THE NECESSARY DISTINCTION 
BETWEEN THE ETHERIC FORMATIVE FORCES 

AND THE ETHERS 

Modern science does not recognize the four elements of fire, air, 
water, and earth. The solid, liquid, and gaseous forms of matter are 
not elements. The Greek concept of nature was based on the 
recognition of the four elements. Somewhat as a fifth, ether was 
added. Aristotle said of ether: "It is that which is different from 
earth, water, air, and fire; it is eternal and eternally revolves." 4 

This concept of nature with its doctrine of the elements came to 
an end with the onset of the modern age. When the blue sky was no 
longer the boundary of the world— like an etheric skin holding the 
universe together as a whole, as an organism, within which 
everything had its proper place— when, instead, the concept arose 
that the world is but an assembly of parts, the idea of the 
elements, which can only be understood within a totality, was also 
lost. The world was now envisioned as some kind of aggregate. 
With a slight variation of one of Goethe's aphorisms one could 
say: "Aggregate is the summation; element is the result of 
experience. To arrive at the aggregate, intellect is necessary; to 
grasp the element, reason is required." ["Aggregat ist Summe, 
Element Resultat der Erfahrung. Jene zu ziehen wird Verstand, 



4. Aristotle, De caelo. 

Trans, note: ". . . which moves with a circular motion . . . And so. implying 
that the primary body is something else beyond earth, fire. air. and water, they |our 
ancestors) gave the highest place a name of its own. aither. derived from the fact that 
it 'runs always* for an eternity of time." 

Aristotle. "On the Heavens." Aristotle, vol. 1. Great Books of the Western 
World, vol. 8 (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Inc.. 1952, reprint ed. 1982) p. 
361. 

1 



dieses zu erfassen Vernunft erforderT]. 5 

The idea of the ether lived longer in science [than the classical 
idea of the elements] and was not abandoned until the 20th 
century. Instead, almost as antitypes, other world entities pushed 
their way into scientific focus and practical application: electricity 
magnetism, and, today, the force upon which atomic phenomena 
are based. Rudolf Steiner once called these three "corrupted 

5. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. "Sprueche in Prosa" [Aphorisms in Prosel 

Trans, note: BegnfT ist Summe, Idee Result* der Erfahrung; jene zu Ziehen 

wird Verstand dieses zu erfassen, Vernunft erfordert" [The concept (Begrifl) is a 

summanzing (of experience) which requires intellectual ability. The idea, (on the 

aHHry ] " ^ ° f CXperienCe and can onl y be «™«P«I with reasoning 

r~J.° h f n ™°rTi V ° n GoCthe ' " S P meche in ^osa," [Aphorisms in Prose]. 
Goethes Saemmthche Werke in zehn Baenden [Goethe's Complete Works in 10 
Volumes], vol. 1 (Stuttgart: Verlag der J. G. CottVschen Buchhandlung. 1875), p. 

This statement demonstrates Goethe's concern with two different mental 
activities. The first activity he saw as taking what has been experienced and 
summarizing it in concepts. He referred to it as "Verstand" [intellect]. The second 
activity he saw as a process by which one patiently and carefully observes the 
visible and then, refraining from the urge to attach concepts to it waits until the 
phenomena themselves reveal the idea. This he called "Vernunft" [reason] 

Another quote from "Aphorisms in Prose" shows what he meant by these two 
processes: Die Vernunft ist auf das Werdende. der Verstand auf das Gewordene 
angewiesen; jene bekuemmert sich nicht: wozu? dieser fragt nicht woher^-Sie 
erfreut sich am Entwickeln; er wuenscht alles festzuhalten. damit er es nutzen 
koenne. [Reason is directed toward what is in process of becoming, intellect 
toward what has already become. Reason does not ask: for what? Intellect does not 
ask: where from?-Reason rejoices in evolving, intellect wants to hold everything 
fast so that it may use it] 
Ibid. p. 831. 

In addition, the following summary may be helpful. 

"Processes belonging to inorganic nature, i.e.. limited to the world of the 
senses, essentially are caused and determined by other processes, also limited to the 
world of the senses. . . If I wish to understand such a process. I have to consider 
as one concept the whole process consisting of cause and effect." Such a concept 
does not determine the process. It has no effect. It is not in it. "The concept only 
serves our mind to summarize cause and effect under one term." It is abstracted 
from the observable by our mind, our intellect (Verstand). It makes possible our 
understanding of inorganic nature where interactions between observable entities 
and mutual dependency of the entities on each other is the rule. 

This kind of thinking was accepted by Kant as the only possible thinking. He 
called it discursive. 

"On the other hand, if we want to understand the organic in nature, we have to 
grasp the concept not as one that expresses something else, represents it, and 



ethers/' 6 

When Rudolf Steiner gave the fundamentals for a new knowl- 
edge of nature through Anthroposophy, his first deed, which 
cannot be taken seriously enough, was re-founding the knowledge 
of the four elements. His works are permeated with ever new 
references to the nature of the elements, their relationships, and 
evolution. At the same time he created a totally new knowledge of 
the ethers. The homogeneous ether of the Greeks was seen by him 
as fourfold: as warmth ether, light ether, tone ether, and life ether. 
He revealed their essential nature, their cosmic and world rela- 
tionships, and their genesis. 

What then is ether? It is still quite distinct from earth, water, air, 
and fire, yet it remains in connection with them in conformity to 
natural law. Rudolf Steiner recognized and described the birth of 
the elements and ethers out of Saturn's warmth 7 . They are born in 
pairs [of element and ether], a new pair during each of earth's 
evolutionary stages; during the Saturn stage warmth ether and 
warmth (fire); during the sun stage, light ether and air; during the 
moon stage, tone ether and water; during the earth stage, life ether 
and earth. Four pairs of siblings, arising from the same origin, 



borrows its contents from it. We have to recognize the idea as such, having a 
content by itself, not stemming from the spatial, temporal world of the senses." It 
has to be an entity creating out of itself, manifesting itself by its own force, not 
according to the influence of other objects. That man is capable of grasping such 
concepts, which may be called intuitive concepts, was demonstrated by Goethe. He 
called such concepts "idea," "entelechy," "archetype," and the means by which to 
grasp these concepts "Vernunft" (reason) as opposed to the summarizing intellect 
or "Verstand." 

Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe* vol. 1: Goethes Naturwissenschaft- 
liche Schriften. 3d ed. (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 
1973) pp. 81-87. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, Goethe the Scientist^ trans, by Olin D.Wannamaker(New 
York: Anthroposophic Press, 1950). 

6. Trans, note: Dr. Marti told the translator that he obtained this statement 
("verderbte Aether") from Dr. Ita Wegman who received it from Dr. Steiner in a 
personal conversation. 

7. Trans, note: Lecture Munich. August 20, 1910 in: Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf 
Steiner Gesamtausgabe* vol. 122: Die Geheimnisse der biblischen Schoepfungsge- 
schichte* 5th ed. (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1976) pp. 80-81. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, Genesis, Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation, trans, by 
Dorothy Lenn and Owen Barfield, 2d ed. (London: Anthroposophical Publishing 
Co.. 1959). 






each pair having an upper and lower sibling, a celestial and a 
terrestiaK intimately permeating each other and working coopera- 
tively in the organic world, becoming differentiated in the inor- 
ganic world; yet never consummate in the world of nature. Like 
the physical elements, the etheric are each quite characteristic and 
distinct in regard to their composition, behavior, and effect. If as a 
whole one compares them to each other, thenj he ethers are the 
superiorMheimponderous, the unifying, whik^jhe^physical 



menl^are the inferTorTTrlFpon derous, th^^iyidualizi ^The^ 
elements have, so to speak, their origin in the center, the ethers in 
the periphery. The former are central, the latter peripheral; the 
former are point-like, individual, the latter universal, comprehen- 
sive. Mathematically speaking, one could say they relate to each 
other like plus and minus, positive and negative. 

In their totality they form in unity the body of the world and 
man. The body of man is physical-etheric; one can speak of a 
physical and of an etheric body. But try to find the elements as 
such in the physical body! At first there is no difficulty, for 
example, to assign bones and teeth to earth and blood, lymphatic 
fluid, and liquids to water, because the solid, the crystalline, is a 
manifestation of the earth element, as the liquid is a manifestation 
of "water." 8 But then one becomes aware of something surprising: 
blood, lymph, and liquids are each "water." However, so are rain, 
milk, and gasoline. Yet each of these is something specific, 
differentiated. What then is "water" as such, when it does not 
appear in the garb of a specific substance? It cannot be found in 
the world of our senses. "Water," as such, denuded, without a 
peculiarly distinguishable, specifying, or individualizing charac- 
teristic does not exist. The same holds true for the other elements. 
The elements can nowhere be found as principles, pure and 
simple. They permeate everything physical and are the basis for 
the physical. They make it possible, give it existence, but not its 
particular f orm of existence. Something else must be added for 
reality to be created with all its specific characteristics. The 



8. For clarity, the elements will be in quotation marks in the balance of this 



essay. 



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physical world, including man's body, appears before us as 
differentiated substance. "Earth," as such, is not able to produce 
gold, quartz, the substance of teeth or bone, as little as "air" can 
produce oxygen, carbon dioxide, or the fragrance of a rose. 
Something else has to, be there which creates out of the elements 

question, too, Rudolf Steiner presented a solution. He 
showed that the stars, are the originators [Ur-Heber] of the 




individual sffbsf price s. The forces of the stars create the individual 
substances from the initiall^ndifferentiated potentialities of the 




elements. Regarding the planets, Rudolf Steiner explained this in 
detail. 9 Mars is the creator of iron, Saturn of lead, sun of gold, etc. 10 
The forces of the stars can also work together: Through the 
cooperative working of the planets on the near side of the sun, 
antimony came into existence. 11 However, the constellations of 
stars are also active in creating substances. The forces of juries 
qpe£tfe-silica;ihose of Taurus, nitrogen. Rudolf Steiner did not give 
many indications concerning the influence of the constellations, 
which leaves an open field for further anthroposophical research. 
TTiedirecti^a is givso; subst§r|Qqs &re the conderisedefets of the 
stars amfrftnl in tfae^lemeats 

When welook at the body (5frn^ii;utHTosebusTr; orat a-deer, we 
not only find different substances, but also a multitude of different 
forms and shapes: the individual shape of a person, the shapes of 
ear and nose, foot and hoof, leaf and blossom, etc. WUlflKiliU lh&££L 
shape s fcoxruz from? From the elements? From the substance^? The 
elemem^ 

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9. Trans, note: Lecture Dornach, March 26, 1920 in: Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf 
Steiner Gesamtausgabe* vol. 312: Geisteswissenschaft und Medizin. 3d ed. (Dornach. 
Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), p. 131. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, Spiritual Science and Medicine, 2d impression (London: 
Rudolf Steiner Press, 1948). 

10. For decades. L. Kolisko traced and confirmed the relationships between 
planets and metals. See: L. Kolisko, Sternenwirken in Erdenstoffen [Effects of the 
Stars on Earthly Substances] (Stroud, Great Britain: Kolisko Archives, 1952). 

11. Trans, note: Lecture Dornach, April 8, 1920 in: Rudolf Steiner, Geistes- 
wissenschaft und Medizin, p. 354 



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consider the cubic and half-moon forms 12 as expressions of the 
"earth" and "water" elements, but these forms are more a^mbol 
^L^i^^ formative forces of the 

c rysfanog r aphy, which clearly show that the substances, insofar as 
they crysiaffize; can have specific forms. JiEffig^^ie resiiljing 
st O^H££l^ con^t^^ of the hur^Tbody 

ccunhin^wnsjrejh^ natural fbrmsj^ struc- 

A clue provided by Rudolf Steiner can lead us further. His 
discovery of the etheric body 13 as architect and builder of the 
physical body explained the form of the body^s manifestations. 
What does the architect do? He draws the plans and designs the 
forms of the structure which the workers erect from the building 
materials. The ethericjj^d^hapea. 

in ltwe have to seek the creator of the forms anrlstnirhir^|Tt, a tx^ 
are on the right path with these thoughts is confirmed by Rudolf 
Steiner's research, which^oj^^ 

ume also a formatiyeforces body. What does this mean? What is a 
formative force? ^^ ' 









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Are th ^&!iL^ers as such already creators of form, that is, are 
ttexIorja^xeS^s?J^opn their own, they ca n no n^ ore create 
fonnslhaajh^jgh^ What is attributed to tjj,em 

in £^ta>W§c^^^ 

notJJm&^chnty. If one considers all that can be known from 
Rudolf Steiner about each of the ethers, nothing of the nature of a 
formative force emerges. HeJiim^elfnever calls them fgnuative 
forces „JB£LMrj^^ between the ethers and th* 



^WWn^^v^jt 7-JJw^me* 



12. Trans, note: W achsmuth. Die aetherischenBildekraefte vol 1 dd 46-47 179- 
189,235-239. P ' 

13. Trans, note: Rudolf Steiner. Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol. 9: Theo- 

sophie [described by Rudolf Steiner on page 22 of the book as: Wisdom of the gods 

revealing the essence of man and his destiny), 28th ed. (Dornach. Switzerland: 

Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung. 1961) pp. 37-38. 

Engl: Rudolf Steiner. Theosophy, trans, by A. P. Shepherd. 4th ed.. (London- 
Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973). 




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formative forces^omething has to supervene and make thp Others 




into formative forcesTjusTas sojojj&fting supervenes in 
thr^uF elements ^ Like the 

elenielifCffie ethers are only the potential, the groundwork for the 
formative forces. But what has to supervene? 

To understand the elements and substances, we have to follow 
a train of thought similar to that concerning the ethers. Even if we 
do not yet have the perceptual ability to observe the ethers directly 
(which calls for at least the imaginative 14 level of cognition), we 
can, through thinking and conceptualizing, gain adequate and 
reliable insight into these matters once we gained clarity concern- 
ing the universal conjunction and contrast of the physical and 
etheric, the positive and negative world. Just asth^dhgga^^ 
appear anywhere^ denuded but are always clothed in a corre- 
sponding substance v sp it i^^with the ethers. No ether appears 
"naked.^Jli^^baiiB^^ This can be taken at first 

as a hypothesis, to be thought through from all sides and 
compared with the phenomena of reality. 

In the same way that the substances are connected with the 
forces of the stars, so too are the formative forces. The instinctive 
view that the shape of man's body is formed by the forces of the 
zodiacal stars was confirmed by Rudolf Steiner. Aries forms the 



14. Trans, note: In addition to our familiar processes of perceiving and 
thinking. Rudolf Steiner spoke of three distinctly enhanced levels of perceiving 
and understanding the world. He called them Imagination, Intuition, Inspiration. 

Rudolf Steiner. Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol. 10: Wie eriangt man 
Erkenntnisse der hoeheren Welten?, 22d ed. (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner 
Verlag. 1975). 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner. Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, 
(Spring Valley. N.Y.: Anthroposophic Press, 1983). 

In the above book he gives indications as to how each person may develop the 
ability, latent in all men. to perceive at these enhanced levels of awareness. 
Throughout Rudolf Steiner's many books and lectures, one can find references to 
these enhanced levels of understanding. One systematic description can be found 
in the book: 

Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol 12: Die Stufen der hoeheren 
Erkenntnis, 5th ed. (Dornach. Switzerland: Verlag der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlass- 
verwaltung, 1959). 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner. The Stages of Higher Knowledge, trans, by Lisa D. Monges 
and Floyd McKnight, 3d ed. (New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1981). 



r 









forehead and head, Gemini the pairs of shoulders and arms, 
Pisces the feet 15 just to name a few. The planets form the inner 
organs— Venus the kidneys, Mercury the lungs, etc: Th?stars arSf 
planets do not fashion all of this directly in the physical (which 
would bring about substances), but indirectly by means of the 
etheripjbgdy. The stars stimulate the formative force in the etheric, 
which then bnlfipTo^ in the physical. How- 

then, do we gain knowledge of the individual etheric formative 
forces and access to them? 

In order to find the right answer, we can refer to Rudolf 
Steiner's last Whitsuntide lecture, 16 in which he described the blue 
firmament as the boundary of world ether. The etheric world 
reaches U P Jo th £j^H^ 

carry within IKemselves the four elements. At the firmament s 
PoundgiyJflMLstarejBEeai, ttoMgh which J^ ^forces of spiritual 

en the astral forces stream in by way of the 
portals of the stars (or streamed in during creation), they stimulate 

^iiss^^ tge ;nr 

forces penetrate more deeply into the elements and create in them 
the substances. Rudolf Steiner describes the totality of these forces 
as The Word* 1 t he cosm i c wo rd, which sounds in and through the 




15. Trans, note: Lecture Duesseldorf, April 18. 1909 in: Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf 
Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol. 1 10: Geistige Hierarchien und ihre Widerspiegelung in der 
physischen Welt 5th ed. (Dornach. Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassver- 
waltung, 1972) p. 144. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the 
Physical World; Zodiac, Planets, Cosmos, trans, by R. M. Querido. 2d ed. (New York- 
Anthroposophic Press, 1970). 

16. Trans, note: Lecture Dornach. June 4. 1924 in: Rudolf Steiner. Rudolf 
Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol. 236: Esoterische Betrachtungen karmischer Zusammen- 
haenge: ZweiterBand, 4th ed. (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassver- 
waltung, 1972) p. 239. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, Karmic Relationships: Vol 2, trans, by George Adams. 2d 
ed. (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974). 

17. Trans, note: Lecture Leipzig, September 5, 1908 in: Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf 
Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol 106: Aegyptische Afythen und Mysterien, 4th ed. (Dornach, 
Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1978) pp. 56-58. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, Egyptian Myths and Mysteries, trans, by Norman 
Macbeth, 2d ed. (New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1971). 



8 




(& I \ 



t t 

u 




V* L> 



w-^ 



i j&i 



* i/ 



J 




i 



rt. 



Uh:^n l i 



A'.rrU 



\ 



fe UforJUfti 



V 



v m Ma 
stars. He discovered and reported the individual soun 



i^H'-ji^t. 



as of this 



•f, 



/ 



Word and uncovered the relationship of the sounds of human 
speech to the stars. The consonants 18 are related to the forces of the 
zodia^^ll^^^ The vowels 19 are 

related to the planets, O to Jupiter, I to Mercury, etc. He did similar" 
research for the world of musical tone. All of this can be fully 
grasped and experienced, and becomes the key to the world of 
formative forces through eurythmy, the creation of which we owe to 
Rudolf Steiner. The eurythmic movements are movements of the 
etheric body made visible by the physical body, which, while 
performing eurythmy follows the etheric body in every way, as if 
having slipped into it. Through eurythmy (and in a lesser way 
through the other arts of word and tone as well) it is possible today 
to grasp the individual formative forces and find them again in 
nature. A future science of nature will no longer be possib le 
without this knowledge. All fomatioTtTr^Tltfie plant — the leaf 
formation, calyx, blossom, fruit, etc., and all forms of man and 
animal— the outer form, the formation of eyes, skin, kidneys, etc., 
in every detail; the forms of water — wave, surf, drop, etc., become 
clear and visible as models of action and as forms of the formative^ y 
forces. In the formation of fruit, of gloim*]^ 
^fth£^jsQimd shaws itself; in the formation of a Ifi&j^of alake, of 
the ( ^rJeasts4he.!!M ,, sound. These are indications which are meant 
to direct attention to the possibility of differentiating the indi- 
vidual formative forces and recognizing them by their effects. 

Now one may ask: How many formative forces are there? At 
present one can answer only tentatively. In chemistry about 90 
basic substances, chemical "elements" are known (aside from the 
elements beyond uranium). If one adds up all basic movements of 



18. Trans, note: Lectures Dornach, July 7 and 8, 1924 in: Rudolf Steiner, 
Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol. 279: Eurythmie als sichtbare Sprache, 3d ed. 
(Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1968), pp. 189, 192. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, Eurythmy as Visible Speech, trans, by V. Compton- 
Burnett, J. Compton-Burnett, S. Dubrovik, and C. Dubrovik, 2d ed. (London: 
Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1956). 

19. Trans, note: Ibid. 







speech eurythmy and tone eurythmy 20 a similar approximate 
number results. 21 

From these thoughts it follows that substances and formative 
forces are born of the stars; substances physically, formative forces 
etherically. What we thus separate in our thinking, however, meets 
us united in reality, as for example in the human body, or a rose. 
Nature's beings bear form and substance as a unity: they are formed 
substance. It is as IFthe etheric formative force has descended into 
what can be perceived by the senses and there produces the form. 
What in its own realm is pure force and movement, here becomes 
form at rest. The form of a deer, the shell of a snail are formative 
force come to rest. 

etheric: formative force 

physical: form 

Is there something comparable for substance, that it is able to 
rise into the region of the forces, the periphery? Yss^Substauce 
itself is a condensation from the region of the stars and can again 

■ ■ ■ ■■■ ■ -.-?&■*'■ •.*-!+:-*;*■ ,■.;■■ ■■!**■.■<■■.. 5J^. ■.■-■:■ ■: i - v ^- > .. -. .. :.- _. T j; ^ . > ^ ^ ■ < ..^ r „. ^;^t:^.^^ ^ ;. ,■..;■;■> ;■■,■*■«■;-■- •*.■■■.■■.■■ . - .,- *v - . . r :. TL-_-.-_.Vfi;< V^c i,^ :- HV r ^ ^'a##^^H^^sF-'SF 1 ™»ffl . 

rise towards, Itepi- Then substance becomes process. In Rudolf 
Steiner's description, nyedlUig gold, mmteJtlefbre us, is gold 
rocess at rest 22 The gold process fills the universe all the way up 
to the firmament. But also the liver as physical organ isffiver 

t The liver process permeates the entire organism 
universe as well. 23 Thus, each substance has to k be 
recognized as process at rest. 

etnencT^^ process >, 



process 
physical: substance 

In nature, substance and form appear only in combination. 



i 



■■*% 



t^gj. 



S85S*ss*s»*IS!*** 




rt*S**fc3»*K*W*»leffl*!j*5n 




20. Eurythmy is a revelation of the formative forces body. In the movements. 
gestures, and stances, eurythmy makes visible the entire range (Umkreis) of 
formative forces. 

21. An addition by Ernst Marti to the new edition of 1981: The question was 
asked: "How many formative forces are there?" The answer attempted at that time, 
considering the number of chemical elements and the basic movements in 
eurythmy, is not correct. There are 12 and 7 (forces of the zodiac and planets) actual 
formative forces. A survey in preparation, will deal with this question, among 
others, in detail. 

22. Trans, note: Lecture Dornach, March 26, 1920 in: Steiner, Geisteswissen- 
schaft und Medizin, pp. 130-134. 

23. Trans, note: Ibid., Lecture Dornach, March 31, 1920, pp. 220-221. 

10 



kV: 



^-fik^i i 



Vw' f ■ * 



CXi 



•< 



it * 



Therefore, we have to write: 

etheric: formative force: process 

physical: form: substance 

With this we grasp a true totality. What combines the fourfold- 
ness into a corresponding unit, can be called substance in the 
actual categorical 24 sense, as, for example, gold, or arnica. 

Does such a study as this have practical value? Yes. The 
differentiation between ethers and formative forces is an absolute 
necessity, otherwise one loses one's way in the anthroposophical 
knowledge of man and the world. Guenther Wachsmuth's book 
Die aetherischen Bildekraefte [The Etheric Formative Forces], volume 
I, does not deal with formative forces, but with the different ethers. 
Rudolf Steiner always clearly distinguishes between the differen t 

ers (or etteric feces) and the forma^v^Jhmgs^nrthe firs"! 






^£Ourse of lectures for medical doctors he shows, for example, how 
„ Q Y^^s^ecific organs are centers for in(Myidual A fthers. The jui^^ 

center lor life ether. 25 But the form of the lungs is not fashioned^b y 
l iie^gBKeiy, rattier by the special force building the lungs which/in " 
turn, is the joint effort of several formative forces (at least one 

>ne can understand 






vow&Jinil one colTsonant form ative fore 

these indications only if one distinguisKesTclearly between ether 
and formative force. The same holds true for many other refer- 
ences giyej^^ 

ig the medical courses, one becomes aware t 
Rudolf Steiner almost exclusively refers to the physical substance 
of a plant when describing its healing properties, such as bitter 
substances, mucous substances, also certain salts or other chemi- 
cal substances. Rar^^ 

concerned with preparing a medication, one works within the 
polarity of substance and process. If, however, I wish to treat 
someone with curative eurythmy, then I do this with formative 
forces and am working within the polarity formative force and 
form. Differentiating between the formative forces and the ethers 
will also prove beneficial to agriculture, because the individual/ , fi 

24. Trans, note: Categorical refers to an Aristotelian category. ^^ ^(ixty ?,$(& 

25. Trans, note: Steiner, Geisteswissenschaft und Medizin, p. 224. * @\k^f?^ 



agricultural measures are either concerned with the polarity of 
substance and process, or of formative force and form. 

The statement that the elements only appear clothed by a 
substance, the ethers only by a formative force, must not lead to the 
opinion that recognizing and working with the elements or ethers 
themselves would be superfluous or impossible. Physics deals 
with them in thermodynamics, aerodynamics and hydrodynam- 
ics, mechanics, etc. Technology, medicine, agriculture, and other 
disciplines work with the elements. Physics is the science of the 
/\ physical elements (hopefully, soon also of the ethers). Ch^rni$try4& 
\£ the knowledge of substances. The science of the organs [Organik], 
Mf as scienceH^^Uying, is primarily the knowledge of the formative 
^ffi forces and<Srocesses3Form [Gestalt] is the term applied to the 
~.™„n *^,,ir^r*^™^|j appearance of the four sources of reality 



tf^gi^f^SSf^^^^^^it^itf 



overall result, tl 
working together? 

None of the four principles, formative force, form, process, 
substance, occur isolated in nature. Process and formative force 
are related as are form and substance in the sensory world. For 
clarity of understanding, however, it is essential that they be 
recognized in their individual natures. "QarJUtjUJXJ^ 
depth in the universal are the two most important requirements of 
reality/* 26 As little as one would confuse gold, lime, milk, or wine 
when referring to the elements "earth" and "water," so one should 
not speak ofJaroxariveu farces whenthe ethers are meant. Like- 
wise, considering the relationship of substance and process one 
should not say, rhythmical processes. Rudolf Steiner avoids this 
expression and speaks of rhythmical occurrences. 27 (Only very 
rarely does he say, rhythmical processes because our language is 
simply not subtle enough to finely distinguish such facts through 
words.) 

If I have before me a person, or the leaf of a rose, or a kidney, I 
can look at them from the viewpoint of formative force, of forms, of 
substances, and of processes. Each time I become aware of 



something different about them. When one speaks of etheric body 
or formative forces body, they are two views of the same thing. This 
rule applies: "Thinking has to guide observation according to the 
nature of things." 28 The foursome of formative force, form, 
process, and substance provides the basis for understanding 
nature and Man according to spiritual science. They themselves 
are again like four elements or sources. They are the four 
archetypal factors of existence [literally: four arch-deed-things]. 



28. Steiner, Goethes Naturwissenschaftliche Schriften, p. 123. 



26. Steiner, Goethes Naturwissenschaftliche Schriften* p. 171. 

27. See the pertinent essay by the author: Ernst Marti, "Vom Wesen des 
Potenzierens" [The Nature of Potentization], Potenzierte Heilmittel [Potentized 
Medicines], (Stuttgart: Verlag Freies Geistesleben, 1971). 

12 



13 



II 



ABOUT THE FOUR ETHERS 

Goetheanistic-anthroposophical understanding of nature is 
based on the fundamental view of essence and appearance. We 
experience reality through sense perception and thinking. The 
senses give us the appearance in sense perception; the essence, at 
first, we grasp as idea. In us, the idea has a pictorial quality; in 
nature it is active as essence. In order to experience the spiritual 
reality 01 the essence, higher cognitional abilities are necessary, 
namely imagination, inspiration, and intuition. 29 Becoming 
aware of the idea within reality 30 provides the foundation for 
science. One has to be clear about the role of the idea in science. 

With this in mind, let us look at the four elements and the three 
states of matter. TJhe sol|d, liquid, and gaseous states appear in 
perception, earth, water, air, fire are ideas which appear in 
manifold ways. Water, for example, appears as rain, blood, wine, 
gasoline. It shows the qualities (perceptions) moist, cold, liquid, 
etc. Water is a spiritual entity on which all that is liquid, moist, etc., 
is based. 

The four elements, as they have been known since antiquity, 
and the four ethers, discovered by Rudolf Steiner, are spiritual 
entities, whose spiritual reality in the world of the elements can be 
experienced by imagination. 31 Normal consciousness has to look 
for them and recognize them by their manifestations in the world 
of the senses. To this end, the phenomena of nature have to be 
ordered in the way Goethe ordered the phenomena of light in such 
an exemplary manner in his theory of colors. 



29. See Trans, note: 14. 

30. Trans, note: Steiner, Goethe's Naturwissenschaftliche Schriften, p. 126. 

31. Trans, note: Imagination, in this context, is not what we generally refer to 
as imagination, but the enhanced consciousness called Imagination by Rudolf 
Steiner. See Trans, note: 14. 



The entity which Goethe called light is identical to, what 
Rudolf Steiner called light ether. 32 Apart from this, there tf re three 
additional ethers according to Rudolf Steiner's research: warmth 
ether, sound ether or tone ether or chemical ether, and life ether, 
which are the basis for the phenomena of temperature, tone, 
chemistry, and life. The ethers' names point to those areas of 
appearance where they can first be found. They can be active 
singly or together, hidmduall^ 
together they areth^js^^ manifestations, there- 



f.ijii^-^SMe**- 



fore, can be found in the inorganic as well as the organic. 

Rudolf Steiner clarified the appearance of the ethers in 
evolution and their mutual relationship. In evolution they are 
always created together with an element in this sequence: warmth 
ether/fire, light ether/air, tone ether/water, life ether/earth and in 
such a way that with each of earth's planetary stages 33 a new pair is 
added, which also then characterizes the respective stage. 34 The 
Saturn stage consists of warmth/fire. During the sun stage light/air 
is added, during the moon stage tone ether/water, and during the 
earth stage life ether and the earth element JChw^Jthepiesenteaith. 
consists of th^ fgm demeats. The entities 

which are below the threshold of the senses, electricity, magnet- 
ism, and atomic power, require a special point of departure for 
their understanding, which shall be presented at some other time. 

The task now at hand is to achieve a sufficient understanding 
of the elements and ethers, i.e., to study the phenomena of this 
world and to recognize them properly as manifestations (appear- 
ances) of the respective idea (ether, element). Rudolf Steiner 



C^\? Uip{ ^ i 



? 



/ 



32. Light, as a purely spiritual entity, is a still higher principle yet than light 
ether. 

33. Trans, note: According to Rudolf Steiner, there were several planetary 
developmental stages preceding our present earth stage. He called them the old 
Saturn, old sun, and old moon stages. Many references to these stages can be found 
in his writings, notably in: Rudolf Steiner. RudolfSteiner Gesamtausgabe, vol. 1 1 : Aus 
derAkasha Chronik^ 4th ed. (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassver- 
waltung, 1969). 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, Cosmic Memory: Atlantis and Lemuria, trans, by Karl E. 
Zimmer, 2d ed., 2d impression (New York: Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1971). 

34. In the present context, the expressions water, tone, etc. are always used in 
the sense of water element, tone ether, etc. 






14 



15 



himself did not further describe the manifestations of the ethers. 
However, by virtue of his basic indications it is possible to 
characterize them in detail. For this purpose one may begin with 
the fact discovered by him, that elements and ethers behave as 
opposites. It occurred that Saturn's warmth evolved into two 
opposing streams of development. One, pictorially speaking, 
descended to air, water, earth, while the other ascended to light 
ether, tone ether, life ether. These two streams, both in whole and 
in part, prove to be complete opposites, like positive and negative. 
One can summarize this relationship in a table with the elements 
arbitrarily classified as positive: 



+ 



Saturn 
warmth/fire 



Sun Moon Earth 

light ether tone ether life ether 
air water earth 



Many of the elements' phenomena are known to us from 
school and from experience. Let us take a well-known phenome- 
non of an element and begin by mentally constructing the 
respectively opposing concept which can then be found as the 
ethers manifestation in the world of appearances. In order to do 
this, however, one first has to free oneself from today's material 
conceptualizations, which we all have, and look at the phenomena 
without any preconceived notions. One also has to take the 
different points of view, which will be presented in the following, 
and let them illuminate each other so that a complete picture of the 
ethers develops. 

Let us start with the pair of opposites air and light ether. We are 
constantly surrounded by air and light, we live in them. How do we 
perceive them? Air is perceived as filling the space between things, 
while light is perceived on the things, not in the space between 
them, ygb^eparate^ it fashions around each thing a light/color 
borderAi^tfRnects things, as, for example, in a room; light 

— i i | | , , , jm .nii_i.ii nw — n m,M.,i wiinnwi'W ' hmwiiiI -™-™ -_*_»_j___^ 

separates them, makes them distinguishable from each other. 
Whether we are in a closed room or^ufsidC weare always in a 
sphere of light and color surrounding us as walls, sky, etc. Light 
creates a border, an envelope enclosing us completely all around, 
from which we cannot escape. A#aihi«~Jiiisjspace it creates 

in IronT 



distances, conditions of space: here, there, in bad 
lo 




\jbuT seVAMtt* 




can experience what is meant when one switches on the light in a 
darkened room. Immediately, everything becomes visible; the 
light throws a border around the objects, makes them distinguish- 
able, shows their location, their size and c onfigu ration in space, 
and by means of a light/color periphery ^ ii^ fe>erything intQ . 
common space. When the sun rises, not only do things become 
^ibleTbut space gets larger. The flickering of the candle shows 
how space expands and contracts. We experience the same thing 
through our eyes, which are organs of light, when we look into 
proximity and distance. Light creates space by bordering, envelop- 
ingJLight and space arelnseparable; where there is light, there is 
Hlp^e. Light activel y crea^ a PP ears - 

In regard to space, air is passive; it fills the space at its disposal. It is 

HAC^* °t ide a becoming visible through the separateness of things. 3 5 Light 
is the fundamental condition and fundamental entity necessary 
for space to appear, because it creates the possibility of differentia- 
tion. 

The different relationship of light and air to space is also 

showxTByTKT^ 

structure, it is chaotic, therefore the expression gas (from the Greek 

clua^ from the source 

tothejt^Jto the ray of vision goes in a straight line from our 

eye, m^i^ ^ The moSt 

characteristic property of air is its elasticity; it can be stretched and 

compressed. The opposite of elasticity is brittleness. Light is brittle 
and thereforejit3JiJ>fc-sep^^ 

stickbefbre a burning candle: the stick separates the light which 

^_^^^^ ■■-■■■■■ ■ ■_,■■■■■■■ . - 

does not unite again bejuodlfe^ 



separate straight lines. 




.s& 



*Ha 




** 



**#*tiJinittem 



35. Science has been concerned with space since antiquity. In his essay "Der 
Goethesche Raumbegrifr [Goethe's Concept of Space] (see Appendix), in his 
introductions to Goethe's scientific works, Rudolf Steiner. clarified the problem of 
space and the three dimensions. His findings are also the necessary foundation for 
understanding the etheric. 

Steiner. Goethes Naturwissenschaftliche Schrifien, pp. 288-295. 

17 



A further trait inherent in air is tension] Air without a jcj&ain 



^rf^"'' 




degree of tensi on does not ex ist. Tension is an inner effect, creating 
and oreservinpol ^^TS^ an be diluted as much as one wants 
fo,Tt still reMOTis'con^siv^Light exhibits the opposite phenome- 
non, everything is outer effect, externalization. Take a source of 
light, the flame of a candle. What is essential is not what holds it 



^^.■^y^-'^s-i'i' "^-i- ■■'*'"*' ***'•& 



together, but whatj]^^ 

ni^^^^T^STn^rea^eordecrease of tension which air exhibits 
corresponds to the stronger or weaker intensity of light, i.e., a 
greater or smaller area of illumination. The fact that light extends 
and expands space isjLgflmnstrated inlhTolpffirw^ 

E^naofirowth, of extension, and of the increase of volume. 
[The size of an organism, its spatial configujaiionj^j^^ 



,.«* 



i, actually its polarity, is pressure, it is an 
^effect that is directed from the outsi de in. Consider the^eart] 
atmosphere. It c ompresses the ear th Frorn^ the_ outsid« The, 
oppposite ol pressure is suction. Therefore, ifthepolarity between 
elementT^ manner described, light ought to 

have a sucking effect. Does it have that? Yes, one only needs to 
recognize the respective phenomena. The periphery, the horizon, 
whether near or far, attracts our gaze. If one attempts not to see 
with eyes open, the very effort one has to make not to see anything, 
makes one aware how light carries the gaze along, pulling it 
towards the periphery, to the surface of things. Today, sight is 
explained as rays of light entering the eye. In enterin|^however, the 
lighlray^callj^^ 

spacgjn a similar manner, in a dark cellar, light draws the potato 
sprouts towards the light; it causes the blossoms to turn towards 
the sun, twisting to follow it Over and above this special 
heliotropism, the entire plant world shows a phototropism, which 
needs to be recognized correctly. Air, from all sides, presses 
towards the earth ^njuipetaUy^ Light ether sucks on the earth 
^penptiera-petally" from all ^id^4 tow - a J^iOM^fe]- This fact 
becomes visible in the growth of plants. Everywhere, plants strive 
away from earth towards the cosmic sphere. One may draw a 
picture of the earth with fir trees standing on opposite sides of the 
earth. Such a drawing would show the actual effect of the 

18 



"periphera-petal" forces, which, by contrast to the pressing of the 
air, are sucking forces. According to Rudolf Steiners research; the 
activity of light ether is active in the "periphera-petal" forces. 
Tension and pressure of the air element reveal its tendency 
towards the inside, towards a center. The activities of raying and 
sucking, as welkas enveloping, show light's relationship to the 
periphery, to the sphere. The point is a basic principle of air, while 

, the periphery is one of HgKt 

* ^l^ulnm^ so far (more will be added 

later), we can say that light ether reveals itself in raying, illuminat- 
ing, and sucking actions. It makes things visible from the outside 
by making their spatial boundaries apparent, and it makes things 
visible from the inside as the force of growth which causes all 
living things to occupy space. It separates the outside from the 
inside. It relates evej^hingiqthe pfriph&yiLcreatesJts activities 
require the coining of a new word: light ether spaces (raumt). 

With the opposing pair water and tone ether, one can take as a 
point of departure the fact that water is cominuous ; it is consistent 
throughout. The opposite of consistency, which would have to be a 

characteristic of t*m&J^^^ For 

example, consider the following phenomenon: when it rains, 
individual rain drops fall. They combine to form a puddle, a 
brook, a river, a lake. In the ocean there are no longer individual 
droplets, but a whole. By contrast, consider a symphony concert. It 
consists completely of individual tones; the music would disap- 
pear if all the tones would run together. Music exists only by virtue 
of intervals, distances, simultaneity, and sequence. Musicjsbased 
onaforceth^^ separate parts still 

maintain their relatkmghip,,. Again, one can take the example of 
theraindrops joining each other until they reach the ocean. They 
gather, give a sum, a whole. This joining together and surrendering 
into each other, which is characteristic of water, becomes particu- 
Tarir^vTdehl on a map showy^^th^Jrater courses, The exact 
opp^irpicfure is that of a tree.JFrom a _ trunk it ; separates out, 

<tf5te^ **■©• into leaves which some ' 

times even (tt^ whole * ree KM 

grown from the sap, from the liquid. Why does this liquid behave 
exactly the opposite of regular water? It is the tone ether activity in 

19 




the forces of growth, splitting what is uniform and letting it grow 
apart. Water extinguishes the multiplicity. It does not really rmjke 
a sum out of it but a whole, a massA Tone ethg r^ejpTgte^rT^ 
into number and .numerical relationships; distanT^T^evelop, 
fractions, doubles, multiplications, divisions; one_can add and 
sublmclThe world of numbers makes its appearance through the 
tone ether activity. For this reason, Rudolf Steiner also refers to it 
as numerical ether. Numbers are archetypically discrete. When 
one hears a single tone, it appears, at first, as a whole, without 
anything discrete. And yet, each tone is based on something 
discrete— the two vibration nodes. Their distance from each other 
is essential for that tone and has to be maintained if the tone is to 
remain the same. Nodes with a measurable relationship to each 
other are a phenomenon characteristic of tone ether activity. 

Although originating from two different words, the expressions 
discrete and concrete may be used as concepts for two basic, 
opposite phenomena— that of growing together and of growing 
apart. For example, take two drops of mercury lying close together. 
The moment they touch, they unite; two turn into one; they melt 
together. This is one oftheprinialphfinom^^ 
and is at the same time a ba^ It occurs in the 

joining of^ The opposite 

phenomenon— that of splitting into two and sejnarating— occurs 
through the activity of tone ether; in the inorganic, for exampTeTln 
the formation of tonal nodes, or in Chladny's sound figures; in the 
organic, as mentioned before, in the trees' fo rmation of crowns, in 
the plant's branching aujt.a^iMQIQ^o^allxvisible manifesta- 
tion of the basic fact of cellular division. The growing apart of a 
dividing cell reveals in a most beautiful way the effect of the tone 
ether's activity. During cellular division, at first two nodes develop, 
the centrosomes, from which the entire process of division 
emanates and is regulated. If one makes a condensed motion study 
of the individual stages of cellular division, as described, for 
example, in a history of evolution, a process is revealed which is 
identical to the development of Chladny's sound figures: discres- 
cere. Fertilizati^ CidMar w divis^ 

things organic, relate to each other like the water element and tone 
ether. The effects of this opposing pair show up even in the soul life 

20 



v 



as sympathy and antipathy. In the end, the separation into the 

rsoufce, also. The whole of existence is 



sexes comes 



interwoven by the effects of water and tone. 

In the world of physics, additional opposites become evident. 
Water is liquid; it not only flows outwardly from the mountain to 
the valley, buf especially inwardly, it is thoroughly liquid, i.e., 
constantly sliding within itself, slipping. By contrast, tone ether 
demonstrates the strength to hold fast. It forms nodes and holds 
them firmly. Tone ether is not only active as tone in the air, but also 
in water, its sibling. Rudolf Steiner also calls tone ether chemical 
ether because it is the carrier of chemical activity. The substances 
chemically relate to each other according to the laws of numbers; 
their chemical correspondences and forces are manifestations of 
the chemical ether. A solution of H 2 S0 4 is as if resounding with 
the numerical order of this substance. The components of the 
substance are arranged within the medium as points, not arbitrar- 
ily, but rather as nodes having a numerical relationship to each 
other. This behavior becomes visi ble in t he X-ray of a crystal or in/^-v 
its structural display model. Th^mndm^ force of chemical ether/ j 
mentioned above, shows itself therein. While in a crystal the nodes * 
are frozen rigidly, in a solution they are fluid, swinging. 

Tone and water, each by itself, are polarized into an active and 
passive side. With tone this appears as the contrast between nodes 
and oscillation. That which is essential occurs between the nodes. 
With water this contrast appears as rocking and rolling. Consider 
the following; When a stone is tossed into a lake, waves are formed 
which spread towards the shore from the point of impact. A cork, 
swimming on the surface, rocks up and down as long as the waves 
are moving. It shows that the particles of water are moving up and 
down, while the waves are spreading horizontally. When the waves 
have subsided, the particles of water are at their original location. 
The point here is the rocking up and down of the particles and 
their remaining in place while the wave moves away, i.e., matter 
remains and the wave is only external to it. Yet, the principle of 
wave formation belongs to the essential nature of water. This is 
shown, for example, in the meandering of flowing water. The 
principle of repetition appears in combination with wave and 
oscillation. The idea of natural movement leads back to the 

21 




phenomena of tone and water as outlined above. 

Water possesses an additional important property: it is dense. 
Conversely one has to say tone ether is "loose"; it loosens, makes 
holes, gaps. Music and chemistry consist of intervals; the essential 
is in the in-between. This becomes visible in the lattice of a crystal 
which consists predominantly of gaps. Water is compact, has 
mass; tone ether is porous. Weight is mass. Water is heavy, it has 
weight; it provides the measure for weight. Tone ether is light it 
makes lighter. Again, one take the H 2 S0 4 solution. The numbers 
actually refer to the elements' proportional weight, but in the 
solution the elements behave as if they were weightless. Such a 
solution is homogen^^ 
fcontafiTS^ 

exerts no influence on these. ^ is the 

effect of the chemical ether. In the case of a tone, one can't ask how 
much it weighs. The problem heavy/light, also weight and its 
counterpart weightlessness, belong to the realm of water and tone 
and not as often thought to the realm of air and light. 36 

A single tone does not fully reveal the characteristics of tone 
ether. Tone ether can be better recognized with all its characteris- 
tics by its chemical activities. In a saline solution, the salt is evenly 
spread throughout the entire medium, evenly arranged in it. In 
Greek, to evenly arrange is harmonia* to harmonize. Tone ether, 
according to its primary nature, harmonizes. The Ancients experi- 
enced this as the harmony of the spheres. Harmonizing, building a 



36. There is a simple experiment by which one can sense the sucking-lifting 
effect of the ethers. It consists of the following: Lift up one arm sideways into the 
horizontal position. This can be done without difficulty. Now stand next to a 
doorjam, a closet, or a similar obstacle and try to lift the arm. This is not possible 
because of the immovable obstacle. Now. in spite of this, with the arm hanging 
down, its outside and back of hand touching the obstacle, press with all your might 
against the obstacle for about half a minute, trying to lift up the arm. Then 
withdraw your will from the arm, i.e.. let it hang down relaxedly and take a step 
forward. With surprise one will then experience that the limply hanging arm, as if 
by itself, is moving up, sometimes up to or even above the horizontal position 
previously intended. This raising of the arm occurs without engagement of one's 
effort or will; one has the feeling the arm is weightless and is swimming or being 
sucked upwards. What has happened here? This event can be explained by the 
understanding of man based on spiritual science. The will to lift up the arm. being 
an impulse of the soul, affects the arm in such a way that it grasps the etheric body 

22 



structure, organizing, presupposes separate entities being brought 
into a measured relationship. Tone ether does this visibly for 
instance in the Chladny sound figures, or in the positioning of a 
plantXJ^aygs^along its stem — „— — — ~~~ — _ 

Summarizing the preceding, tone or chemical ether can be 
characterized as that principle which separates, creates distances, 
forms nodes, makes buoyant versus heavy, harmonizes, creates 
* order. Measure, number, and weight have their origins injhe- 

k& of water and tone,. ,. — — — - — — 

Thinking in terms of opposites will be especially helpful when 
looking at the pair earth element and life ether. At first life ether is 
the most difficult to grasp because it does not reveal itself to any of 
the particular senses; it is thp jinMvfrriirig f^*^? itself which cannot 
be found directly in the inorganic. ^C/>kTA: S Ah tf : .,i^\(?,ik£<~ 

The earth element finds expression in solids. Solids are rigid, 
ife ether creates the jgppq^i te^ inner mobility ^ which is to be 
distinguished from mere movement and also from liquidity. Each 
component of a flowing liquid is moving within the totality. Each 
component of life ether is moving in accord with the overall 
design. Connected with the concept of rigidity is that of imperme- 
ability. 'S^solid body requires its own space; two bodies cannot 
simultaneously occupy the same space. The earth element rej ect^: 
iLasserts itse lf in an outward direction . Life ether is the force of 
self-permeation in an inward direction, of inner self-assertion, of 
inner integration. It does not reje ct, but absorbs, thereby providing 
the basis for assimij^tian. This is connected with a further fact. 



M 



& 3j*?-, ?!fl^ ,, ^ i " 



of the arm. giving it the impulse for movement whereupon movement of the 
physical arm follows. During the attempt to lift the arm against the obstacle, the 
intensive will, in a way. is able to separate the etheric arm from the physical arm 
and to lift it for a short time by itself When the will subsides and there is no longer 
an obstacle, the etheric arm then draws the physical arm towards itself during 
which time the lightening, sucking effect of the etheric force is experienced. 

S piritual science shows that the bod y^cieacJbJiYi^g being* ,as Iftl^JlliLiL^iyr '"* 
permeated by this force of lightening. Since the etheric body permeates, aboveal 
the liquids 61 arToTgl^sln^tnTtsTorces. all liquids of the body are permeated by 
this lightening force and not subject to gravity. For this reason, blood, for instance, 
almost effortlessly circulates throughout the human body. This explains why it 
does not collect like a mere liquid in the legs. This does A occur until man is ill 
and his etheric force can no longer keep in the lightening force all the liquids 
within him. Then his feet start swelling. 



n A£6o 



r 



j, 






t } 



23 



■/ 



V ; 



vl* 













^ / 



U 






11 Jr 






/, 



A^ W , 



^ 



Every solid body has a surface which is indeed related to its 
material nature, but the shape of its surface is arbitrarily caused by 
outer circumstances. Life ether, on the other hand, creates a skin 
which is dependent not on matter and outer conditions, but on 
inner conditions, and is the expression of an inner nature. 

A solid body can be divided. I can break some chalk into 
pieces, whereby the individual pieces become completely inde- 
pendent from each other (this is different from the division 
effected by tone ether). I can also break a leg, but then the opposing 
force of life ether shows itself: The bone can heal together again 
and become a whole. Life ether heals; it restores; h ■creates a whole, 
a healthiness; it repleniS^ apart, it 

restores each part to another whole; grass which is cut keeps 

growing. 

The earth element and life ether i ndividualize . Each stone is 
always a single piece, one part; and because it is divisible it consists 
only of parts, of individual portions. Ufe^ethjeuLjdsa 
individual entities, but the indiyidu^entity is a .wholly is com- 
plete; lfis everything in one, all-in-one (ail-e in). Accordin g to its 
nature it is individujiMlldoesj^m have part ^ut^^ ^j. The 
^tooHTliv^^^ by its members. rTK> tfffirr 1g thp pM&JBlS that 
creat esthewhole. lt is as though the whole is represented by the 
whole skin, which is like an outlet for the all-permeating force of 
life ether. This force is activeijuEach individuajjM nt. Each point 
is moving and active aca ^diiigjaxl^^ The 

point is not a part, but a member. This is important, as in cancer, 
for example, when one cell excludes itself from the domimiono' 
the whole and becomes independent. ^_ 

The position of a solid body in space is inconsequential and 
arbitrary; it is dependent on externals. Life ether, on the other 
hand, creates posture, gives form to space internally and external- 
ly. For example, it polarizes and governs the fertilized ovum. It 
forms the human body for its upright carriage. The form of a solid 
body is determinedj^ag&>^^ 
tnlou^iaSTTn contrast lifexth^^ 
several spatial ,di^^ 

p^ddzin&of form out of itself; it is the whole which gives form to 
itself. All shapes and forms of living beings arise through this 

24 



plasticizing activity. Life ether creates living bodies (Leiber)Uhe 
eartttekmejitx^ 

In summary, life ether can be characterized as follows: It 
enlivens and individualizes in such a way that complete organ- 
isms develop which enclose themselves in a skin, permeate 
themselves as a unity, and form and structure themselves. Life 
ether forms living bodies (leibt). 

A further possibility for the understanding of the elements and 
ethers is given by the knowledge of the origination of space as gained 
by spiritual science. The physicist C. F. von Weizsaecker main- 
tains that space originated at some point in time. Spiritual science 
is able to determine when that happened. Space originated on the 
old sun 37 (trans, note: old sun stage). One has to become familiar 
with two unusual thoughts — with the concept of the evolution of 
space and the idea of the two kinds of space, of point-space and 
plane-space. The newer synthetic geometry shows the infinitely 
distant plane becomes a self-enclosed whole. Space can be viewed 
as originating from the infinitely distant plane or from the point at 
the center. In the first instance plane-space results. In the second 
instance point-space results. These two purely geometric mental 
concepts became reality on old sun when space originated. They 
became manifest through the origination of air and light; plane- 
space through the light immf0&»*fxzupbmy~ and point-space 
through the air. These spaces interpenetrate each other; the origin 
of the one is the end of the other. They behave towards each other 
as positive and negative, and in accordance with the terminology 
given above for the ethers and elements, plane-space can be callecL 
negative space and point-space positive space. 1 he oiher unia- 
miliar concept is that of the evolution of space. Space also 
undergoes an evolution; it is not there ready-made from the 
beginning. Completely developed space has three dimensions. 
Rudolf Steiner shows 38 that on old sun space had only one 



37. Trans, note: Lecture Berlin, November 7, 191 1 in: Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf 
Steiner Gesamtausgabe. vol. 132: Die Evolution vom Gesichtspunkte des Wahrhafiigen, 
4th ed. (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1969), p. 34. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, The Inner Realities of Evolution, 2d ed., (London: Rudolf 
Steiner Publishing Co.. 1953). 

38. Trans, note: Steiner, Die Evolution vom Gesichtspunkte des Wahrhaftigen, p. 
34. 

25 



u 



& {■( 



Lcltf - bU&Q\ ■■■■pU^-JP -Cci,'\M^ SjuIJ 



dimension, on old moon two, and three not until our present earth 
stage. Rudolf Steiners indications can be summarized as follows: 



dimensions 



- 1 light - 2 tone - 3 life ether 

+ 1 air + 2 water + 3 earth element 



What does it mean that space was only one-dimensional on old 
sun? It means that there were only one-dimensional entities at that 
time, through which space had only a one-dimensional manifesta- 
tion. On old sun light and air originated. They are one-dimen- 
sional entities. W hat is the characteristic of one-dimensionality? 
Linearity. Refe rence was made above to the raving, linear nature 
T^gETlt is one of the conditions of one-dim ensionality that an^ 
^I^^thll v^av not toudTitsell . LighfsStisfiesthis require- 
T^T on^ia^ source of lipht: it rays radially and linearly from 
_ ■ t0 the periphery without touching itself in the least The 

condition is also satisfied through parallelism and through the 
following behavior pattern (drawing). 




This behavior shows up in plants. In their spatial laws of growth, 
plants are one-dimensional beings, never touching themselves.^ 
Look at a buttercup or an apple tree— one will find that theyjievej; % 
touch themselves. Plants closely obey this condition. According to 
their essence they are one-dimensional, s triving tow ardphe 
periphery, thereby revealing the activity of Jight^ether. Stand 
beforTaTierao^ rays away from the earth 

towards the periphery; stand before a linden tree: it does not grow 
like a ray in a straight line, but branches out; yet, it retains one- 
dimensionality and also reaches away from the earth towards the 

26 



LfKvJ 



periphery. Its spatial appearance, its size, result from the light 
ether activity within it. In the branching out of t he tree 's cfbwn^ i 
Ijghf s capacity to be split appearsTInthe organ i c realmJ The one- ^ * ..... 
dimensionality of air can be found behind the phenomenon of V;..|^ 
tension. Tension is the one-dimensional effect two entities have 
upon each other. In the organic realm, the air element appears as 
elasticity; there is no stem of leaf or blade without it. Light and air 
> are basic principles of the plant. It is primarily a one-dimensional 
being. 

On old moon (trans, note: old moon stage) space appears two- 
dimensionatty, because water and tone ether, originating during the 
moon stage, are two-dimensional. The plane is a two-d imensional 
form. Water, according to its essence, is a plan** throughout It 
shows its s urface outwardly, but inside it is all pl ane- its flawing {s — 
a n inner slipping of planes. A drop is also essentially a plane 
without a constituting center. The two-dimensionality of tone 
ether can be found in its pairs of nodes. For the nodes are not 
points arbitrarily, but conjugated, coordinated locations with 
spatial laws which becomes evident through the following consid- 
eration. One of the properties of a surface of water is its ability to 
reflect. Any object in front of a mirror appears as an image at the 
same distance behind the mirror. The surface of the mirror is real. 
Now consider the opposite and let object and its mirror image be 
real and the mirror's surface be imaginary; this demonstrates the 
laws of the two nodes which are equidistant from the imaginary 
c entral plane and which are ordered by it towards eacn omer. L 
W hat has just been described is the essence of symmet ry, of the 
mirror image. Symmetry is a basic phenomenon of th? * w hif h ' fi — - 
organicJfhe arrangement into pairs, the right and left, is the effect 



of tone ether. Th p 1pa Lof a plant r eveals in a wonderful way the . 
frvj^irrHrnsio nal wo rking of water and tone, in its pi ane-like form 
i t is wate r in itss vmmetfTtt is tone. I n the leafs veins the sap is 
flowing; in the separated fields of the net-like structure of the leaf 
the chemical [tone] processes are taking place. 

Two-dimensionality can also be realized in another way— i.e., 
by touching itself. When a whole behaves in such a way that it 
touches itself, as, for example, when a line runs in such a way that it 
closes itself into a circle or crosses itself. Look at a bee on a flower, 

27 



scraping the pollen off its back with its legs, or a cat licking itself 
and in doing so each time touching itself with paw and tongue. The 
animal not only touches itself, but also its food when eating, the 
ground when walking, etc. However, now one has to differentiate 
carefully. Touching is an intermediate condition that can develop 
further towards either side. Touching results in a merging, or what 
touches can also separate again. The first is the effect of water, the 
second of tone ether, as described above. First consider the 
development of animals from the water element point of view. 
he builder of plan jesJhcfertilized ovum deve 




tu l a, a plana -___ 

planes, ectoderm and entoderm fold themselves in evef jieaL. 
in^oIuTTo^andevolutions during the deve lopment o f the orga ns. 
TKroughout, the animal is full of planes. Now consider Trie 
following process: The ectoderm involutes and forms the neural 
trench; the folds touch and grow together, the spinal cord 
develops. At some other locations, too, body parts touch and grow 
together, in the center line in front, for example, where the whole 
body grows together. If this does not take place properly, for 
example, a hare lip remains. Growing together is water element. 
The separating force of the tone ether sees to it that not all planes 
which touch in the organism (for example pulmonary and parietal 
pleura, etc.) grow together into one big, whole lump. Tone ether 
maintains the organs and parts of the organism as separate 
elements. The basic shaping of an animal's body, the forming of 
two symmetrical halves of the body, occur due to tone ether 
activity. Right and left are the precondition for an animal's ability 
to touch itself externally. In such touching, it is not the merging 
force o f water which is active but the separating force of tone ether 
The paws do not grow together, but the two, having touched eac 
other, part again. Only a temporary stopping point comes about. 
The touching can repeat itself, thereby also becoming permeated 
with numeric characteristics. Through touching and separation 
an animal's movement becomes possible. A hare's track in the 
snow, consisting of individual points, is a picture of this. Touching 
and separating are also the basic conditions for the origination of 
tones, as evidenced by musical instruments. Tone and water are 
essential to an animal. In its formative laws, the animal is a two- 

28 



dimensional being. :-_ 

The earth element and life ether affect the complete space, they 
are three-dimensional The positive three-dimensionality of a stone 
causes its rigidity. It is as if the dimensions have been concealed in 
rigidity; they are of equal value and neutral; externally they can 
only be determined arbitrarily or by chance, and mentally they 
can be drawn through any arbitrary point of the stone as the x, y, 
and z axis. The stone's points are of equal value among them- 
selves, each can be broken apart without disturbing the others; 
each can become the center. If I break the stone into pieces, in each 



piece a new point becom es the center, without this having anv» 
e ffect on the pointy In the living organisms the central point 
becomes real, as, for example, the nucleus of a cell. The cell's 
nucleus, represent in g the e^ nh H^mpr^ \$ p r^ al center . This is the 
difference between the cell and the drop which does not have a real 
center. When the nucleus divides, it dors n^t c^ntin 11 ^ as partsjaul 
fas hjonsTtself intoa new whole thr ough the l ife ether's force. This 
effect emanates from the perip hery, from the cell's skin . With in the 
cell and within the living being the di mensions are not of equal 
value. Liie etner differentiates them and orients the ce]l anH th^__ 




living being into its surroundings. The spatial directions of 
aboVe/below, riglu/lell, lront/rear arise. Only in the human being 
does this come fully to expression. Man is a true three-dimen- 
sional being. He is tri-centered, has three centers: in the head, the 
thorax, and the lumbar region. These three centers exist in their 
truly human order only when man stands upright. It was pointed 
out above that position is characteristic for the earth element, and 
posture, the active spatial relationship, for life ether. This becomes 
reality in the upright human body. This is expressed in the fact that 
man determines all space from this position. The upright human 
body is the source of all orientation in space. What is above or 
|{ below, near or far, in front or behind, is derived from the upright 
\\ human being. W heri I say, "There is a tree in front of the house,'\ 
rnth^rHs^fmrealpd in this formulation the experience of the up right * 
^ human body . E verything is anthropomorph ic h^<: rpfrpnpp tn ^ 
* xnan^R elativitv is possible only if one leaves out the human being 
(and the other living beings). In man, more than in anything else in 
nature, life ether becomes most visible — in the skin. Only man has 

29 



a skin in the true sense of the word; other creatures have fur, 
feathers, scales, plates. The human skin externally encloses in a 
pliable and flexible way the human shape and at the same time 
expresses the whole inner being. The earth element and life ether 
are peculiar to the human being. He is truly a three-dimensional 
being. In consequence he is not only an individual creature, but 
his body is the foundation for individuality. 

A further point of view for the understanding of the elements 
and ethers arises from the question of matter. In the introductions 
to Goethe's writings on the natural sciences, Rudolf Steiner 
showed that "matterj sjhat which fills spa ce3~anda^such is a_ 
ph^noinenonof^e^ ^rrd of_ a ppearances. Matter and space 
mutually determine each other. During the evolution of earth, 
space first appeared on old sun. Only from then on can one speak 
of matter. The first mate rial substances to arise were light and air. 
Spiritual science points out that all substance is condensed light. 
One has to keep in mind that light and air behave towards each 
other in a negative and positive manner. It follows from this that 
there must be positive and negative matter. Rudolf Steiner pointed 
this out many times. It is important to first gain an idea of negative 
matter. Fundamental to this is the understanding that the ethers 
relate to the elements as active to passive. (Compare the above 
description of earth element and life ether.) Negative matter is also 
matter in active form. In this w ay one arrives at the con ce pts of 
process and matter, which Rudolf Steiner discussed many times. 
Therefore, we have to distinguish, for example, silica and the silica 
process, gold and the gold process. By gathering all characteristics 
of the elements and ethers and looking at them from the viewpoint 
of positive and negative matter, insights into the problem of matter 
and process come about This problem would require a detailed 
presentation by itself. 

In the thoughts so far presented, the pair, fire element and 
warmth ether, which stands at the beginning of evolution, has been 
skipped over. It was not possible to refer to it until now because it is 
significantly different from the other three pairs discussed. For 
warmth is not spatial, it is zero-dimensional. The old Saturn 



39. Steiner, Goethes Naturwissenschaftliche Schriften, pp. 275, 326. 



30 






consists only of warmth/fire. Warmth, according to Rudolf 
Steiner's presentations, is "intensive movement." The opposite is 
extensive movement which presupposes space, which does not 
exist until the old sun. On old Saturn, warmth and fire are not 
separated, they are a single mobile unity; separation also presup- 
poses space (in the diagram they are presented together and from 
their factual unity it follows that there are not eight, but seven 
realms of existence on this earth, three elements and three ethers 
and between them warmth). + J 

In which f orm, then, does warmth/fire exists As time. On old 
Saturn time originates, as space does on old sun. Warmth brings 
time into appearance. One can nevertheless attempt somewhat to 
differentiate warmth/fire. Char acteristic of the fire elemen t is its -v 
disappearance from the world of smsejgiseption. All other^j^ 
elements are lasting; warmth dies away. Wannth jethgr leads into J 
the wo rld of appear ances. It makes things come into existence and 
furthers their development, brings them to maturity. That a plant 
starts to flower at a certain point that a child changes its teeth at 
around age seven, enters puberty at about fourteen — this is due to 
warmth ether activity. Warmth ether is the birth of time; fire is its 
dyingjaway. They are like future and past interpenetrating eac 
other in the present Warmth creates time, makes time. In Saturn's 
warmth there is no matter because matter requires space, and yet, 
there were already silica and gold on old Saturn. S ubstantiality in 
the form of warmth has to be called substance JnjconftasL to 
matterT"""" 

For a complete understanding of the elements and ethers a 
further viewpoint is necessary regarding their origination, their 
source. In the description of light and air, reference was already 
made to one of their characteristic tendencies. Air strives towards^ 
thecenter, light to wards the peri phery. Rudolf St einer explained 

how all elements have this tendency towards the center, all ethers 

^ ■■■ ii *■ 

the tendency towards the periphery. The former are active as if 
from a cente r, the latter as if from the periphery. Injfaejggjworld, 
tfie center of the earth is the center of the ejements. The surro und,- 
j jm ^cos mosTT^ is the peripheral source of the 

ether^Rudolf Steiner callsThFiorTnercen^^ 
universal forces. The centric forces can be grasped mathemati- 

31 









cally; they can be traced back to one point of origin. The universal 
forces escape mathematics, because it is not possible to begin 
calculations at infinity. The ce ntric forces are w eIl_knownJp 
modern science and are being used in technology; the universal 
forces are unknown to it, which is the reason why science cannot 
undeTSand life. fhe~discovery and description of the universal 
forces is one of the most important insights gained by Rudolf 
Steiner and is of greatest importance for the future. The elements 
represent the physical, the ethers the etheric; the physical is 
lifeless, the etheric is that which is actually alive. In the living 
organism all elements and ethers are working together. Singly, the 
elements and ethers are active inorganically, physically. In a living 
being the elements make up the physical body, the ethers the 
etheric body. In the universe they make up the body of the earth 
and the body of the universe; both are living organisms. Ufeon 
e arth exists through the mutual interpenetration of etheric body 
andphysjcjd-bady^It ends when they separate. Then the physical 
body disintegrates and becomes a part of the whole earth. In the 
same way, the etheric body dissolves and becomes absorbed by the 
periphery of the universe. 

The universal nature of the ethers has an important conse- 
quence. When the ethers take hold of eart^ 
the earthlylubstances from the sphere of influence of. theatric 

force^jntojhe^e^ 

substa^ Rudolf 

Steiner characterizes this as follows: "^ 

exert their influence, as if aiming towards the center of the earth. 
TheTwould^ompleTely rupture earthly matter, dissolving it into 
an amorphous state, if the effects of the heavenly bodies beyond 
the earth would not enter this force field and modify the dissolu- 
tion." 40 At first it seems as if this description cannot be verified. 
However. Rudolf Steiner immediately points out where these 
relationships can be observed. "One can observe in the plant what 

40~Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman. Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol. 27: 
Grundlegendes fuer eine Erweiterung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschaftlichen 
Erkenntnissen, 5th ed. (Dornach. Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 

1972). p. 27. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman. Fundamentals of Therapy. 3d ed. 

(London: Rudolf Steiner Press. 1967). 

32 



is meant here. In plants the earthly substances are lifted put of the 
realm of earthly effects. They strive to become amorphous. This 
transition into amorphism is modified by the effects of the sun and 
by similar effects from the cosmos." 41 Observe, for example, the 
sprouting of a potato in the cellar: from the eyes of the potato the 
sprouts grow longer and longer; they visibly ray apart thej x)tatoj^ 
matter until thev reach the lMUJJ VTiei 



J&^i 




enoughs iUtain^^ and lets the leaves- 

appearjjQihata^^ 

sprouting of a seed ^jjJixsUJ^rs ting ap a rt and extingu i shing o f 

fern^bjjexve to * 

^ t^ foimiej^^ ^ 

A<= universal forces, the ethers dissolve form; they do not b uild 
JL Th £L^Il!LCl t Joima tiyx f o rces. In the passage cited above, Rudolf 
r A Steiner indicates what may be called etheric formative forces and 
^where they come from. T hey also are forces coming from the 
peripher^but not from the entire J^^he^ 
they come^rathelr from specific locjtion^jod^^ the % 

s un, from the stars . They are forces having a specific location 
within the periphery. Their ways and effect will be described in a 

future treatise. 

The present description is only a sketch of the four ethers, 
calling for expansion in many directions. Whoever begins to 
acquire an appropriate concept of the ethers not only enriches his 
knowledge but also gains a key for opening up many new insights 
and seeing new relationships in nature and man. Step into nature, 
for example, before a linden tree, with these concepts. The tree's 
size and spatiality are effect and manifestation of light ether. The 
artistic branching and ordering of the crown reveal the tone ether. 
Life ether is the reason that the myriad leaves, the branches and 
roots form a whole. The fact that the tree is 70 years old and 
blossoming at this very moment reveals the creative activity of the 
warmth ether. Likewise, one can look at an animal or a human 
being in the same way. In fact, all of nature can be looked at and 
understood in a new way when the ethers reveal that which creates 
time and space, harmonizes, and unites in the world of the senses. 



41. Ibid, pp. 27-28. 



33 



Ill 



THE WORKING TOGETHER OF THE FOUR ETHERS 

According to the understanding of world and man in antiquity, 
the elements were presented in their natural order from the bottom 
up, from the earth element to the fire element i.e., in an open 
sequence. However, there was also a cyclical presentation in a 
circle or square which opens up many questions. In that case two 
elements are always positioned diagonally to each other; all four 
make up the corners of a square. In which case 



water 



earth 




air 



fire is assigned the lower corner at the right, air the lower corner at 
the left; water and earth are above on the left and right. Why is it 
that fire is now positioned below and earth above? Whether one 
reads clockwise or counterclockwise, there is a strange jump 
between earth and fire. Is there a reason for this arrangement? 
Modern man would not naturally make this arrangement. For he 
either does not know the four elements at all or, at best, he 
considers them a conceptual problem of only historical signifi- 
cance. Man of antiquity, however, not only recognized the four 
elements conceptually, but he also felt and experienced them. 
Rudolf Steiner once gave a description of how Aristotle taught 
Alexander about the four elements. In his writings, Aristotle de- 
scribed the four elements at length and elaborated on their 
importance for the world and for man. "Through Aristotle, 
Alexander learned how that which lives in the outer world as earth, 
water, air, and fire elements also lives inside man; how man, in this 

34 



respect, is a real microcosm; how the earth element lives in him, in 
his bones; how the water element lives in his blood circulation, in 
all his liquids, his vital fluids; how the air element is active in his 
respiration and in respiratory stimulation, is active in his lan- 
guage; and how the fire element lives in his thinking. Alexander 
was still aware of living in the elements of the world." 42 

Today, this experience has disappeared. Modern man feels 
completely separated from the world: he no longer feels the 
qualities of the spot on earth where he lives. He still notices that it 
gets colder when he travels north and warmer when he travels 
south. In ancient times one experienced something comparable in 
his body when traveling westwards or eastwards. Traveling to- 
wards the east, one felt dryer; traveling towards the west one 
perceived an increase in moisture. Thus one had differentiated 
perceptions dependent on the four directions in space. These are 
not the elements, but they are connected with them in accordance 
with natural law. This becomes evident when also the elements are 
experienced. Such experiences are not perceptions of the physical 
senses like the experience of moisture and coldness, but are inner 
experiences of the soul. The people of ancient times felt that from 
the northwest, the region between coldness and moisture, forces 
approached them which they perceived inwardly as beings, as the 
water element beings. The capacity for such experiences began to 
vanish during the Greek period. Through Aristotle's teachings, 
Alexander still experienced the elements in this way. Rudolf 
Steiner described this in the same context; "Thus it was that 
Aristotle's pupil pointed towards northwest and said: Thence I 
perceive the effect of the spirits oLwale mn this earth / He pointed 
towards southwest and said: T hence I perceive the spirits of air/ 
He pointed towards northeast and saw how predominantly the 



42. Lecture Dornach, December 27, 1923 in: Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf Steiner 
Gesamtausgabe, vol 233: Die Weltgeschichte in anthroposophischer Beleuchtung und 
ah Grundlage der Erkenntnis des Menschengeistes^ 4th ed. (Dornach, Switzerland: 
Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1980) p. 78. 

Engl.: World History in the Light of Anthroposophy* trans, by George Adams, 
Mary Adams, and Dorothy S. Osmond, 2d ed. (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 
1977). 

35 



them in their element " combined with the 

eX pI "ITo^^^^^ and thus developed the 

Sgramofthetwo crosses which stand at 45 degrees to each ^ 
This arrangement does not arise from speculation but from 
Ixnerience "reflects the facts of nature and then orderly 
relatronship which man observes and explores in the world 1 with n 
£ hori on". Once this order was discovered, it coul *so * >£* 
without reference to the four directions in space, and it proved to 
without reterence 10 cognitive life of antiquity 

have encompassing fruitlulness ior me w B 

and the Middle Ages. 

north 

cold 



water 



earth 



west moist 




dry east 



air 



warm 
south 

The actual experiences vanished very soon after ^^ 
time, but the diagram of the two-fold cross ^^^™£ f 
basis for understanding man and nature, particularly in the art oi 
heaUn. during the Middle Ages and until modern Umes. One no 

and one called the four elements the P^T^^^^^ 

cold etc the secondary qualities. During the Middle Ages this 

etching was expanded by differentiating degrees within the 

^Jiy quatito and it was said, for example: The rose « cold in 



"^Tsteiner "» WeltgesckicHte in anthroposopHiscker Beleuchlung und ab 
Grundlage der Erkenntnis des Menschengeistes, p. 80. 

36 



the first degree and dry in the second. 44 According to these points 
of view medications were examined and applied. Both the exag- 
geration of this separating into degrees and the appearance of 
completely different, new directions of understanding led to the 
gradual disappearance from science of the knowledge of the four 
elements and qualities. The basic facts have not disappeared from 
nature and man; they have only to be grasped in a new way. 
Modern man can no longer sense them through his body or 
recognize them as spiritual beings. He must use perception and 
thinking, in which case it becomes evident that the primary 
qualities of the four elements are ideas and the secondary qualities 

are perceptions. 

The elements cannot be perceived by the senses. In our world 
of the senses they appear by virtue of their four secondary qualities 
in such a way that each of the four secondary qualities is the 
manifestation of the collaboration of the two elements bordering 
it. The collaboration of the water and air elements appears in the 
visible, sense-perceptible world as moisture. The other corre- 
spondences can be ascertained from the diagram. 

Since each of the four elements forms a pair with one of the 
four ethers as previously described, the question arises: Could the 
four ethers be arranged in a similar manner, i.e., in the form of a 

cross? 

tone ether or . * life ether 

chemical ether 



light ether 




warmth ether 



Like the elements, the ethers are ideas. In which phenomena 
does their collaboration appear perceptible to our senses? Since 
the Greeks knew only one undifferentiated ether, they could 



44. Willem F. Daems, "Die Rose ist kalt im ersten Grade, trocken im zweiten" 
[The Rose is Cold in the First Degree, Dry in the Second], Beitraege zu einer 
Erweiterung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen [Contribu- 
tions Towards an Expansion of the Art of Healing Based on Insights Gained by 
Spiritual Science], vol. 6 (Stuttgart: Arbeitsgemeinschaft anthroposophischer 
Aerzte [Working Association of Anthroposophic Medical Doctors], 1972). 

37 



neither ask nor answer this question. We have to look for the 
answer by way of thought and have to find the phenomena in the 

realm of the organic. 

Which of our sense perceptions appears from the combined 
activity of warmth ether and light ether? Light ether is the expanding 
force that creates space, warmth ether is the ripening and 
approaching of time (which works together with fire and the 
waning warmth). Theoretically, one can characterize these ethers* 
collaboration as space creation within a span of time. Take, for 
example, a kernel of summer wheat germinating in the earth: It 
sprouts, grows for four weeks, and then is perhaps a foot tall. In 
another six weeks it grows further and reaches its full height. What 
has become visible through the collaboration of the two ethers? 
The wheafs growth, the height and size of the plant. 

What is it that appears through the working together of light 
ether and tone or chemical ether? Light ether creates space; tone 
ether separates and creates order, as evident in Chladny sound 
figures. The growing plant does not remain only a simple line, a 
bare stem. It sprouts leaves, twigs, flowers, fruits. Visualize a crowds 
foot or a tomato plant. A finely structured object in space has 
developed. Light ether and tone or chemical ether allow the 
structure of space to appear. Segments develop. Segments are 
separations and arrangements within one unit of space. In music 
one can also speak of arrangements in segments which have a 
character relating more to time; they are, however, also structures 
in space, when they resound. 

What is it that appears through tone ether or chemical ether and 
life ethert Life ether is the force which creates wholes, bounds itself 
within a skin, enlivens, is subdivided and organized inside by tone 
ether. The result is organs, parts that are wholes, i.e., liver, lungs, 
kidneys, etc. Each of them is also bounded by a skin, in each of 
which a separate chemism, a special life takes place. 

What kind of phenomenon results from the combined effects 
of life ether and warmth ether? It is the whole within time: the age in 
life. With a person of seventy, the whole has been kept within time 
for seventy years by warmth ether; warmth continually came into 
existence and vanished in him over the course of seventy years. 

38 



tone ether or 
chemical ether 



parts 



light ether 



organs 




life ether 



age 



warmth ether 



size 



One can also ask: What is it that comes into existence and 
appears through the combined effect of the two ethers situated 
opposite each other? Warmth ether and tone or chemical ether. 
ripening chemism, for example, when the green cherry changes 
into the sweet, ripe fruit, or when the sex cells, already present at a 
baby's birth, begin their dividing during puberty and the sex 
hormones become active. These chemical happenings, developing 
through the joint activity of warmth ether and chemical ether, can 
be called processes. 

Between light ether and life ether the growing, metamorphosing 
whole comes into existence, i.e., the changes of form which a 
newborn human being undergoes until it is fully grown; or the 
changes of form of a frog egg until the frog is fully developed. One 
can call this building of form or forming [Gestaltung]. 

These thoughts about the joint activity of the pairs of ether lead 
to the insight that in reality not only two ethers work together, but 
always all four and, actually, in all possible combinations. This 
becomes quite visible in the development of the frog egg into the 
fully developed frog. The building of form goes hand in hand with 
chemical processes, growth goes hand in hand with structuring 
and forming of organs and all of this occurs during the life of the 
organism. 

Through this one finds the foundation of life. We characterized 
the effects of the ethers in the manifestations of life in plant, 
animal, and man. The ethers in their fourfold joint activity are the 
actual life forces. 

This result of our examination of the ethers corresponds to the 
research and presentations of anthroposophical spiritual science. 
The fourfold joint activity of the ethers is basic to all living beings 

39 



on earth. Rudolf Steiner speaks of the etheric body 45 which 
consists of these four ethers and is the life principle of all living 
beings. However, what has been presented so far is not yet the 
etheric body. In the preceding were characterized only the life 
forces which arc generally active in an etheric body. While the four 
ethers can bring into being size, members, organs, formation, 
processes, etc., they can only do so in general. They are working the 
same way in wheat and in a frog as in man. In order for a leaf, a 
flower, a hand, or a lung to develop, additional forces have to join 
the four ethers. Tliosean^ 

forces and guide the ethers in such a way that they create a leaf or 
flower, a plant or an animal. For a specific species to come about, a 
snowdrop or a rose, a trout or a swallow, the species-forming force 
has still to join in. Only then is the life-forming force gathered, 
appearing as etheric body or life body to the person perceiving the 
supersensory, which may simply be called the formative forces 

body. 

The formative forces can be researched, as mentioned in the 
first essay. However, beforehand, still another realm of the world 
has to be explained, because elements and ethers alone do not yet 
give the complete reality available to our senses. Also belonging to 
reality are the forces of electricity, magnetism, and similar forces, 
which, according to their nature, are opposites of the ethers. They 
are not peripheral forces, connected with the periphery, but centric 
forces, exerting their influence out of the earth, as if from the 
earth's center, from "below," as the ethers exert their influence 
from "above," from the world's periphery. Rudolf Steiner called 
them central, or u-forces 46 . Not until elements, ethers, and u-forces 
are together, do they give the foundation for the world and the 
material for the activity of the formative forces. 



45. Trans, note: On many occasions Rudolf Steiner spoke of the etheric body. 
Forone specific reference see: Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe. vol. 13: 
Die Geheimwissenschaft im Umriss, 28th ed. (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner- 
Nachlassverwaltung, 1%8), pp. 418-420. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, Occult Science: An Outline, trans, by George Adams and 
Mary Adams (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969). 

46. Trans, note: Lecture Basel, October 1. 1911 in: Rudolf Steiner. Rudolf 
Steiner Gesamtausgabe, vol. 1 30: Das esoterische Christentum unddie geistige Fuehrung 
derMenschheit (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung. 1962). 

40 



4? 

6 > * 





.c- 



,/ 



APPENDIX 
GOETHE'S CONCEPT OF SPACE 

Rudolf Steiner 

(Translated by Eva Lauterbach) 



A full understanding of Goethe's work in physics is only possible 
if one considers Goethe's concept of space. For this reason we shall 
describe it here. If we wish to understand this concept, we need to 
have grasped from our preceding elaborations the following 
points: 

1) Objects singly confronting us in our experience have an 
inner reference to each other. In reality, they are bound together 
uniformly by the world. In them lives but one common principle. 

2) When our mind approaches objects and tries to mentally 
embrace what is separated, the conceptual unity thus produced is 
not external to the objects, but taken from the inner essence of 
nature itself. Human understanding is not a process taking place 
outside objects, arising from purely subjective arbitrariness; 
instead, the law of nature arising in our mind, the happening in 
our soul, is the heartbeat of the universe itself. 

For our present purpose, we shall examine the most external 
reference our mind establishes between the objects of experience. 
Let us take the simplest case in which our experiencing calls for 
mental activity. Two simple elements of the world of appearances 
are given by way of example. In order not to complicate our 
examination, let us take something quite simple, for example two 
shining points. We shall leave aside completely that possibly in 
each of these shining points we already have something unbe- 
lievably complicated posing a task for our mind. We shall also 



pp. 102-103. 

Engl.: Rudolf Steiner, The Etherisation of the Blood, 4th ed. (London: Rudolf 
Steiner Press, 1971). 

41 



leave aside the quality of the tangible elements of the world of the 
senses before us. We shall only consider the circumstance that we 
have before us two elements separated from each other, i.e., 
appearing separate to our senses. We are only taking as given two 
factors, each of which is capable of making an impression on our 
senses: that is all we are taking as given. We shall further take for 
granted that the existence of one of these factors does not exclude 
the existence of the other. One organ of perception can perceive 
both of them. 

If we assume that the existence of one of these elements is 
dependent upon the existence of the other in any way whatsoever, 
then we have a problem different from our present one. If the 
existence of B is such that it excludes the existence of A, yet, 
according to its essence, is dependent on it, then A and B have to 
have a relationship in time. Because the dependence of B on A — 
keeping in mind that the existence of B excludes the existence of 
A — is conditioned on A preceding B. But this should be discussed 
separately. 

For our present purpose we shall not assume such a relation- 
ship. We are taking for granted that those things we are concerned 
with do not exclude each other s existence, but instead are entities 
existing with each other. If we disregard every reference demanded 
by inner nature, only this remains that a reference as such exists of 
the special qualities, that I can transit from one to the other. I can 
get from one element of experience to the other. There can be no 
doubt for anyone what kind of relationship it may be that I create 
between things without considering their composition, their 
essence. Whoever asks what kind of transition from one thing to 
the other can be found, with the thing itself of no consideration, 
must certainly give the answer: space. Every other relationship has 
to be based on the qualitative composition of what appears 
separately in the world. Only space considers nothing other than 
that things are separated. When I am thinking: A is above, B is 
below, I don't concern myself at all with what A and B are. I 
connect no other thought with them than that they are separate 
factors of the world that I grasp with my senses. 

When looking at experience our mind wants to overcome 
separateness. it wants to demonstrate that the force of the whole 

42 



can be seen in the individual members. Concerning spatial views, 
it does not wish to overcome anything other than individualiza- 
tion as such. Our mind wants to establish the utmost general 
relationship. That A and B individually are not a world by 
themselves but share togetherness, is clear through spatial obser- 
vation. That is the idea of next to each other. If each thing were a 
being alone, there would exist no concept of next to each other. I 
would in no way be able to establish a reference of beings to each 
other. 

Now we shall examine what further follows from establishing 
an external reference between two individual entities. I can 
visualize two elements only one way in such a reference. I visualize 
A next to B. I can now do the same with two other elements of the 
world of the senses, C and D. Thereby, I have established a 
concrete reference between A and B and another between C and D. 
Now I will completely set aside the elements A, B, C, and D, and 
only refer the two concrete references to each other. It is clear that 
as two special entities, I can refer these to each other as much as A 
and B themselves. What I am referring here are concrete refer- 
ences; I may call them a and b. If I now go a step further, I can refer 
a again to b. But now I have already lost all that is individual. 
When looking at a, I no longer find an individual A and B referring 
to one another, and the same with b. In both of them I find nothing 
other than that there has been a reference as such. This determina- 
tion, however, is the same for a and b. What enabled me to still 
distinguish a and b was that they referred to A, B, C, and D. If I 
exclude this remnant of the individual and only refer a and b to 
each other, i.e., the circumstance that there has been a reference 
altogether (not that something specific has been referred), then I 
have again arrived very generally at the spatial relationship from 
which I started. Further I cannot go. I have reached what I have set 
out for earlier: space itself is standing before my soul. 

Herein lies the secret of the three dimensions. In the first dimension 
I refer to each other two concrete elements appearing in the world 
of the senses; in the second dimension I refer these spatial 
references themselves to each other. I have established a reference 
between references. I have brushed off the concrete things, the 
concrete references have remained. Now I spatially refer these to 

43 




each other. That is, I disregard that they are concrete references; 
then, however, I have to find in the second reference exactly 
whatever I find in the first. I am establishing references where 
there is no difference. Now the possibility of relating is ended 
because the difference is ended. 

What I previously took as the viewpoint for my observations, 
namely, the totally external reference, I now reach again as idea 
based on sense perception; from the observation of space, after 
executing my operation three times, I have arrived at space, i.e., my 

starting point. 

Therefore, space can have only three dimensions. What we have 
done here with the idea of space is actually only a special case of 
the method, we employ all the time when we observingly 
approach things. By observing tangible objects from a general 
viewpoint, we gain concepts of individual things. These concepts 
we then examine from the same viewpoints so that we have only 
the concepts of the concepts before us. If we connect those, they 
melt into that uniformity of an idea which may be placed under no 
further viewpoint than its own. Let us take a specific example. I am 
getting to know two people: A and B. I look at them from the 
viewpoint of friendship. In which case I shall gain a very specific 
concept, a, of the two people's friendship. Now I look at two other 
people, C and D, from the same viewpoint. I come to another 
concept b, of this friendship. I can go further and refer these two 
concepts of friendship to each other. What I am left with, if I 
disregard the concrete fact I have gained, is the concept of friendship 
as such. This, however, I can also gain in reality by viewing the 
persons E and F from the same viewpoint, and also G and H. In 
this, as in innumerable other cases, I can reach the concept of 
friendship as such. All these concepts, however, are essentially 
identical to each other; and if I look at them from the same 
viewpoint, it becomes apparent that I have found a whole. I have 
returned again to what I started with. 

Space is thus a view of things, a way in which our mind gathers 
things into a unit. The three dimensions in this connection behave 
in the following manner. The first dimension establishes the 
relationship between two sensory perceptions (sensory perception 
tore is what Kant calls sensation [Empfindung]). Thus it is a 

44 



concrete thought. The second dimension relates two concrete 
thoughts to each other and thereby moves into the area of 
abstraction. The third dimension, finally, only establishes the 
uniformity of the idea between the abstractions. Therefore, it is 
totally incorrect to consider the three dimensions of space as 
completely equal. Whichever is the first depends, of course, on the 
elements perceived. But then the other dimensions have a very 
specific and different meaning from the first. Kant assumed, quite 
in error, that ^pac&i^a totality instead of an entity conceptually 
determinable within itselfL 

Heretofore, we have spoken of space as a relationship, a 
reference. But is there only this relationship of next to each other? 
Or is an absolute determination of location existent for each thing? 
This, of course, has not even been touched on in our preceding 
elaborations. But, let us examine if such a condition of location, a 
very specific "there" exists. What am I referring to in reality when 
speaking of such a "there"? Nothing other than an object of which 
the immediate neighbor is the object in question. "There" means 
neighboring an object referred to by me. With that, however, the 
absolute indication of location has been led back to a spatial 
relationship. The examination mentioned thereby becomes 
pointless. 

Finally, let us raise the question: According to the preceding 
examinations, what is space? Nothing other than a necessity, 
inherent in the things themselves, to overcome in a most external 
way their being individual without considering their essence, and 
to unite them in an external uniformity. Space, therefore, is a way 
of grasping the world as uniformity. Space is an idea; not, as Kant 
thought, something one sees. 



45 




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Menschheit. Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwal- 
tung, 1962. 

Engl.: The Etherisation of the Blood. 4th ed. London: Rudolf Steiner 
Press. 1971. 

• Vol. 1 32. Die Evolution vom Gesichtspunke des Wahrhaftigen. 4th ed. 

Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1969. 
Engl.: The Inner Realities of Evolution. 2d ed. London: Rudolf Steiner 
Publishing Co., 1953. 

. Vol. 233, Die Weltgeschichte in anthroposophischer Beleuchtung und 
als Grundlage der Erkenntnis des Menschengeistes. 4th ed. Dornach, 
Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung. 1980. 
Engl.: World History in the Light of Anthroposophy. Trans, by George 
Adams. Mary Adams, and Dorothy S. Osmond. 2d ed. London: Rudolf 
Steiner Press, 1977. 

* Vol.236, Esoterische Betrachtungen karmischer Zusammenhaenge. 
Vol. 2. 4th ed. Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwal- 
tung, 1972. 

Engl.: Karmic Relationships. Vol. 2. Trans, by George Adams. 2d ed. 
London: Rudolf Steiner Press. 1974. 



47 



. Vol. 279, Eurythmie als sichtbare Sprache. 3d ed. Dornach, 

Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1968. 
Engl.: Euryihmy as Visible Speech. Trans, by V. Compton-Burnett, J. 
Compton-Burnett S. Dubrovik. and C. Dubrovik. 2d ed. London: 
Anthroposophical Publishing Co.. 1956. 

. Vol. 312. Geisteswissenschaft und Medizin. 3d ed. Dornach, 

Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961. 

Engl.: Spiritual Science and Medicine. 2d impression. London: Rudolf 

Steiner Press, 1948. 

Steiner, Rudolf and Ita Wegman. Vol. 27, Grundlegendes fuer eine 
Erweiterung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen. 
5th ed. Dornach. Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 
1977. 

Engl.: Fundamentals of Therapy. Trans, by George Adams. 3d ed. 
London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1967. 

Wachsmuth, Guenther. Die aetherischen Bildekraefte in Kosmos, Erde und 
Mensch: Ein Weg zur Erforschung des Lebendigen.VoL 1.2ded. Dornach. 
Switzerland: Philosophisch-anthroposophischer Verlag am Goethe- 
anurru 1926. 

Engl.: The Etheric Formative Forces in Cosmos, Earth and Man. Trans, by 
Olin D, Wannamaker. New York: Anthroposophic Press: London: 
Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1932. 

. Die aetherische Welt in Wissenschaft, Kunst und Religion: Vom Weg 

des Menschen zur Beherrschung der Bildekraefte [The Etheric World in 
Science. Art, and Religion: Man's Attempt to Master the Formative 
Forces]. Vol. 2. Dornach, Switzerland: Philosophisch-anthroposophi- 
scher Verlag am Goetheanum, 1927. 

. "Zur Richtigstellung" [A Rectification]. Beitraegezu einer Erwei- 
terung der Heilkunst nach geisteswissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen [Con- 
tributions to an Enhancement of the Art of Healing Based on Insights 
Gained by Spiritual Science]. No. 2. Stuttgart: March/April, 1960. 



INDEX 






Adams. George. 8. 35, 40 

Adams, Mary. 35, 40 

Aerodynamics, 12 

Age, 31,38, 39 

Aggregate. 1 

Agriculture, agricultural, xi. 11. 12 

Air. vi. 1.3.5, 14. 15, 16, 17. 18. 19,21. 22. 25.26 

27.30.31.34.35.36.37 
Alexander. 34. 35. 36 
Amorphous, 32, 33 
Animal, ix. 9, 28. 33. 39. 40 

Anthroposophy. anthroposophical. ix x 3 5 
11.14.39 

Antimony. 5 

Antipathy. 21 

Appearance, appearing, 8. 12. 14. 15, 16, 17,20. 

21.27.30.31.37,38.39.40.41.43 
Aquarius. 9 

Archetypal, archetypical. 13. 20 

Architect. 6 

Aries. 5. 7 

Aristotle, 1.34. 35 

Arm. 8. 22. 23 

Astral, vi, 8 

Atmosphere. 18 

Atom. Atomic, vi. 2. 15 

Axis. 29 

B.9 

Barfield, Owen. 3 

Birth. 3. 31.39 

Bitter. 1 1 

Blastula. 28 

Blood. 4. 14. 35 

Blossom. 5. 9. 33 

Body. vi.x. 4. 5. 6. 7, 9. 10.23,24.25.28 29 30 

32. 35. 37 
Bone. 4. 5. 24. 35 
Border. 16. 17.37 
Boundary. 8. 19 
Breast. 9 
Brittle. 17 

Builder, building. 6. 22. 28. 33. 39 
Buoyant. 23 
Calyx. 9 
Cancer. 24 
Cat. 28 

Celestial. 4, 31 
Cell, cellular, vi. 20. 24. 29. 39 

Center, central, centric. 4. 19.25.26.27.29 31 

32.40 
Centripetally. 18 



48 



Centrosome. 20 
Chalk. 24 
Chaos, 17 

Chemism, chemical, 1 1. 15. 21. 22. 23. 27 37 
38,39 

Chemistry, 6. 9. 12. 15,22 

Chladny. 20, 23. 38 

Circle. 27. 34 

Clothed. 7. 12 

Cold, coldness. 14. 35. 36 

Color. 14, 16. 17 

Compton-Burnett. V. & J.. 9 

Concept, conceptual. 1 . 7. 16, 20. 25, 33. 34. 41 , 

43, 44. 45 
Concrescere. 20 
Concrete, 7. 20, 43. 44. 45 
Condensation, condensing. 10. 30 
Consonants, 9. 1 1 
Constellations, 5 
Contrast, xi. 7. 19.21.24. 31 
Cork. 21 

Corrupted ethers. 2 
Cosmos, cosmic, xi. 3. 8. 18. 31. 32. 33 
Creator, creating, creative. 3, 5, 6. 8. 1 6. 1 7. 1 9, 

24,25.31.33.38.40 
Creation, created, 9, 15. 38 
Cross. 27, 36. 37 

Crystal, crystalline, vi. 4, 6, 21. 22 
Crystallography, 6 
Cubic form. 6 
Curative. 1 1 
Daems, Willem. F. 37 

Development, developing, xi. 1 6. 20. 25. 28. 3 1 

38.39 

Dimension, 25. 26. 29. 43. 44. 45 

Direction. 17. 23. 24, 29, 35, 36. 37 

Disappearance. 31. 37 

Discrescere. discrete. 19. 20 

Disintegrate. 32 

Dissolution, dissolve, 32. 33 

Distance. 16. 17. 19. 20. 23. 27 

Divide, division. 19. 20, 24. 39 

Drop. 9. 19. 20. 27. 29 

Dry. 35. 36 

Dubrovik, S. & C. 9 

Earth.vi. 1.3.4.5.6. 12. 14. 15. 16. 18.23,24.25 

26.29.30,31.32.33,34.35,36.38.40 
East. 35. 36 

Ectoderm. 28 

Effect. 4. 5. 9. 1 8. 20. 2 1 . 22. 27. 29, 32. 33. 35, 38. 
39 



49 



Elasticity. 17, 27 

Electricity, 2. 15, 40 

Electromagnetic, vi 

Electron, vi 

Element, vi, vii, xi, 1,2.3, 4. 5, 6. 7, 8, 9, 1 2, 1 3. 

14,15.16.18,19.20.22,23,24.25.27,28,29. 

30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 41, 42, 43, 45 
Entoderm, 28 
Essence, essential, ix, 14. 21, 22, 27. 28, 33, 42, 

45 
Ether, etheric, vi, vii, ix. x, xi. 1,2,3, 4, 6. 7, 8. 9, 

10, 11, 12. 13, 14. 15. 16, 18,23.25.27,29,30, 

31,32,33,34.37,38.39.40 
Eurythmy. 9. 10. 1 1 

Evolution, evolving, 2, 3, 15, 16. 20, 25. 28, 30 
Expanding, 17, 18, 38 

Externalization, external. 1 8, 2 1 , 24. 29, 44. 45 
Eyes, 9, 17. 18 
Feather, 30 
Feet 8, 23 

Fertilization, fertilizing. 20, 24 
Fir tree, 18 

Fire, vi, 1. 3, 14, 15, 16. 30. 31. 34, 35. 36. 38 
Firmament, 8, 10 
Flower. 27, 31. 40 
Force, vi. vii, x, 2, 5, 7, 8. 9. 10, 19,20,21.23,24, 

28. 29, 31, 32, 33, 35, 38. 39. 40, 42 
Forehead, 8 
Form, formation, forming, vi. vii. x, 1 , 4, 5. 6, 7, 

8,9,10,11,12,13,19,21,23,24.25.27.28.30. 

31,33,39,40 
Formative vi, ix, x. xi. 1 . 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 1 0. 1 1 , 1 2. 

13. 28, 33. 40 
Formless. 33 
Four. vi. ix. 1. 3.6. 7. 8. 1 1. 12. 13. 14, 15. 33.34. 

35. 36, 37, 39, 40 
Fraction, 20, 29 
Frog, 39, 40 
Fruit 9. 38. 39 
Fur. 30 
Future. 31, 32 
Gas. gaseous. 1, 14. 17. 
Gasoline. 4. 14 
Gastrula, 28 
Gemini. 8 
Geometry, 25 
Gestalt Gestaltung. 12. 39 
Glomerules, 9 
Goethe, 1,2, 3. 14, 15.30.41 
Gold. 5, 10. 11. 12.30.31 
Gravity, gravitational, vi. 22, 23 
Greek. 1.3, 17.22.35,37 
Growth, growing. 18. 19, 20. 24. 26. 28, 38. 39 
Half-moon form. 6 
Hare, harelip. 28 

50 



Harmonia. harmony, harmonize. 22. 23, 33 

Head. 8, 29 

Healing, 11.24,36 

Heavenly, 32 

Heavy. 22. 23 

Height 38 

Heliotropism. 18 

Homogenous. 3. 22 

Horizon. 18, 36 

House, x, 29 

Hydrodynamics. 12 

1,9 

Idea. xi. 1.2.3. 14.15. 17,21.25.30.37,44,45 

Imagination, imaginative. 7, 14 

Impermeability. 23. 41 

Individuality, individual, individually. 4, 5. 6. 

8.9, 11,12. 15. 19,24,25,28.30.43.44.45 
Infinity, infinite, 25, 32 
Inner. 18,23.24,30,35,41 
Inorganic, xi, 4. 15. 20. 23, 32 
Insight. 7, 32. 39 
Inspiration. 14 
Instinct. 7 

Intellect intellectual 1, 2, 3 
Interval. 19. 22 
Intuition, intuitive. 3. 14 
Iron, 5 
Jupiter. 9 
Kant. 44. 45 
Kidneys. 8. 9. 12. 38 
Koerper, 25 
Kolisko. L.. 5 

Language, viii. 7. 12. 33. 35 
Leaf, 5. 9. 12. 19. 23. 27, 33. 38. 40 
Left, 27, 28. 29 
Leib. 25 

Lenn. Dorothy. 3 

Life, vi, ix. 3. 1 1 . 1 5. 1 6. 20. 23. 32. 36. 38. 39. 40 
Life ether, vi, 3. 1 1. 15. 16. 23. 24. 25. 26. 29. 30. 

37. 38. 39 
Lifeless. 25. 32 
Light 14. 15. 16, 17, 18.19,22.25.26.27.30.31. 

33 
Light ether, vi, 3. 1 5. 1 6, 1 8. 1 9. 22. 26. 27. 33, 37. 

38.39 
Linden tree, 26, 33 
Line, linear. 17. 26. 27 
Liquid. 1.4. 14. 19.21,23.35 
Liver. 10,38 
Lump. 28 
Lung. 8, 11.38.40 
Lymphatic fluid. 4 
M. 9 

Macbeth. Norman, 8 
Magnetism. 2. 15. 40 






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Man, ix, 4, 5, 7,9, 1 1 . 1 3, 29. 33, 34. 35. 36. 37, 39. 

40 
Manifestation, xi. 4, 6, 14. 15, 16, 20, 2 1 . 26, 33. 

37.39 
Mars, 5 
Mass. 20, 22 
Material, 6. 24. 4fr 

Mathematics, mathematical, 4, 31. 32 
Matter. I. 14,21,24,30.31.32,33 
McKnight, Floyd. 7 
Meaning, viii. 45 
Measure, 22, 23 
Mechanics, 12 
Medication. 11. 37 
Medicine. 12 
Member. 24. 40 
Mercury. 8. 9. 20 
Metamorphose, 39 
Microcosm. 35 
Milk, 12 
Mineral, vi 
Mirror. 27 

Modern. 1.31.35.36.37 
Moisture, moist 14. 35, 36. 37 
Monges. Lisa. D„ 7 
Moon, 3. 15, 16.26.27 
Movement moving. 9. 10. 21. 23. 24. 28. 31 
Mucous. 1 1 

Music, musical. 9. 19. 22. 28. 38 
Name. xi. 15 
Nature, ix, t , 3, 4. 9. 1 0. 1 2. 1 3. 1 4. 2 1 . 22, 24. 26, 

29. 30. 32. 33, 34, 35. 36, 37, 40. 41 
Negative. 4, 7, 16. 25, 30 
Neural trench. 28 
Nodes. 20. 21,23. 27 
North. 35. 36 
Nuclear forces, vi 
Nucleus. 29 

Number, numeric, 20. 21, 22. 23, 28 
0.9 

Ocean. 8. 19 
One. 20. 26. 27. 37 
Opposing, opposite. 1 6. 1 7. 1 8. 1 9. 20, 2 1 . 23, 24, 

31.39.40 
Order. 21.23, 34, 36, 38 
Organ. 8, 10. 1 1. 12. 17. 28. 38. 39. 40. 42 
Organic, organically, xi. 4. 15, 18, 20. 27. 38 
Organik, 12 

Organism. 1. 10. 18. 25. 28, 29. 32. 39 
Origin. 3. 4. 23. 25, 32 
Originator, origination, originating, 5. 6, 20, 

25.26.27.28.31 
Oscillation, 21 
Osmond. Dorothy. S., 35 
Outer. 18.24.34 



Ovum, 24, 28 , r 

Oxygen, 5 

Pair, 3, 4, 15. 19. 20, 23. 27. 30, 37, 39 

Parallelism. 26 

Part I, 19,24,28,32,38.39 

Passive, passively, 17. 21, 30 

Perception, perceiving, 7, 10, 14, 16, 3 1 , 35. 37, 

38, 40, 42. 44 
Periphery, peripheral, 4, 10, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 

27.29,31,32.33,40 
Phenomenon, vi.x, 2, 7. 14. 15, 16, 18, 19,20,22, 

27, 30. 37. 38 
Phototropism. 18 

Physical, vi. xi. 4. 5, 6. 7, 8, 9, 10, 1 1, 15, 32, 35 
Physics, vi, xi, 6. 12, 21. 41 
Pisces. 8 
Plane, 25, 27, 28 
Planet planetary, 5, 8. 9. 15 
Plant, ix. 9, 1 1, 18, 20, 23. 26, 27, 31. 32, 33, 38. 

39.40 
Pleura. 28 

Point, vi, 4, 19. 21, 24. 25, 27, 28, 29, 31, 41 
Polarity, polarizing, vi, 11, 12. 18, 21. 24 
Positive, 4. 7, 16.25,29,30 
Posture. 24. 29 
Potato, 18.33 
Present, 26, 31 
Pressure, pressing, 18, 19 
Principle. 4. 12. 19, 21. 24, 27, 40, 41 
Process. 10. 11, 12. 13.20,27,28,30.32,39,40. 

41 
Quality. 14, 35, 36, 37. 42 
Quartz. 5 
Querido, R. M.. 8 
Rain. 4, 14. 19 
Ray. raying, 17. 18. 19, 26 
Reality.real. 4. 7. 10. 12, 14.29,31,39,40,41,44 
Reflect. 27. 36 
Reject 23 
Relationship. 3. 9. 15. 16. 17, 19, 20. 21, 23. 29, 

32. 33. 36. 42. 43. 44, 45 
Relativity. 29 

Research. 5, 6, 15. 19.39.40 
Respiration. 35 
Rhythmical. 12 
Right. 27. 28, 29 
Rose. 5. 6. 10. 12.36,40 
Rupture. 32 
Salt 11.22 

Saturn. 3, 5, 15, 16,30.31 
Science, scientific, xi. 1, 2, 9, 12, 14, 30, 32, 37, 

40 
Seed. 33 

Self-assertion. 23 
Self-permeation. 23 

51 




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Sensation, Sense, sensing. 4. 7. 10. 12. 14. 15. 

23, 31. 33. 35. 37. 38. 40. 42. 43. 44 
Separation, separate. 10. 16. 17. 19. 20. 21. 23. 

28,31.32.35.37.38.42 
Steven. 31 
Sex, 21.39 

Shape, shaping, vi, vii. x. 5, 6, 7. 23. 24. 28. 30 
Shepherd, A. P.. 6 
Shoulder. 8 
Silica, 5. 30. 31 
Size, 17. 18.27.33.38.39,40 
Skin. 1. 9. 24, 25. 29. 30. 33. 38, 39 
Sky. 1. 16, 18 
Snail 10 

Solid, 1.4. 14.23.24 
Soul, 20. 35, 41.43 
Sound, vi, 9. 15,20.38 
South, 35. 36 
Space, spatial, 13, 16. 17, 18, 19. 23. 24. 25. 26. 

27,29.30.31.33,35,36.38.41.42.43.44.45 
Speech, 9. 10 
Sphere, 18. 19.22.31 
Spinal cord. 28 
Spirit, spiritual, vii, 8. 13, 14. 25. 30. 35. 36. 37. 

39 
Square. 34 
Stage. 3, 15, 20 
Star. vi. 5. 7, 8. 9. 10. 33 
Steiner, Rudolf, vi. ix. x. xi. 2. 3. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 

11.12,14,15,19.20.21.26.30.31.32,33.34. 

35, 40, 41 
Stone. 21.24. 29 

Structure, structural. 6. 1 7. 2 1 . 23. 25, 27, 38. 39 
Substance, vii, x, 4,5, 6. 7. 8. 9, 10.11.12.13.21. 

30,31.32.33 
Suck, suction. 18. 19 

Sum. summation, summarizing, 1, 2, 3. 19. 20 
Sun. 3. 5. 15. 16. 17. 18, 25. 26, 30, 31. 33 
Surface. 18,21,24,27 
Symmetry, symmetrical. 27. 28 
Sympathy. 21 
Taurus. 5 
Technology. 12. 32 
Teeth. 4. 5. 31 
Temperature. 15 
Tension. 18. 19. 27 



Thermodynamics. 12 

Thought, thinking. 3, 7, 10. 13. 14, 35, 37, 38.45 

Three. 14. 25. 26, 29, 30. 43, 44 

Time, 25. 31.33. 35. 36, 38. 42 

Tone. 9. 10. 15. 19. 20, 21. 22. 23. 26. 27. 28 

Toneether.3. 15. 16. 19.20.21.22.23,24.27,28. 

33. 37, 38. 39 
Totality, xi. 1. 11.45 
Touch. 20. 26. 27, 28 
Tree. 19. 20, 26, 27. 29. 33 
Tri-centered, 29 

Two. 16. 20. 26. 27. 28. 34. 36. 37. 38. 39. 41. 42 
U- forces. 40 
Undifferentiated, 5. 37 
Unity, uniform, united, xi. 4. 10. 11.20.25.31. 

33,38,41.44,45 
Universe, universal. 1. 4. 10. 12. 31. 32. 33 
Upright, 24. 29 
Uranium. 9 
Vanish. 35. 36. 38 
Venus. 8 

View, viewpoint, x. 1.7. 12. 13. 14.16.30.31.32. 

44 
Virgo. 9 
Volume. 18 
Vowels. 9. 1 1 

Wachsmuth. Gunther. ix. x. 6. 11 
Wannamaker. Olin. D.. ix, 3 
Warm, warmth, vi. 3. 15. 16. 30. 31. 33. 35. 36. 

37. 38. 39 
Watervi. 1.3.4.6.9. 12, 14. 15. 16. 19.20.21.22. 

23. 26. 27. 28. 34. 35. 36. 37 
Wegman. Ita. 3. 32 
Weight, 22. 23 
Weightless. 22 
Weizsaecker. C. F. von. 25 
West, westwards. 35. 36 
Whole. 1 . 19. 20. 2 1 . 24. 25. 27. 29. 30. 32. 33. 38. 

39. 42. 44 
Word. viii. 8. 9. 12. 18.20.30 
World.ix. 1.2.3.4.5.7.8.9. 11. 12. 14. 15.20.30, 

31. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 40. 41. 42. 43. 45 
X-ray. 21 

Zero-dimensional. 30 
Zimmer. Karl. E.. 15 
Zodiac, zodiacal. 7. 9 






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